Air-borne infections on the rise among Chennai kids

Doctors say that the numbers are likely to decline in the coming months, but the shift in temperature generally leads to surge in such cases during December and January.
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CHENNAI: Cases of wheezing, air-borne allergies and respiratory problems are on the rise among children at the government hospitals in the city.

Doctors say that the numbers are likely to decline in the coming months, but the shift in temperature generally leads to surge in such cases during December and January.

The rise in the concentrations of pollutants because of the weather changes and temperature drop also acts like a catalyst towards the rise in cases and exacerbations of respiratory health problems.

"There is a suffocating impact due to static air during these months so the pollutants don't get blown away. During the post pandemic time, there are incidents of increase in the risk of respiratory issues among those who have been affected with Covid-19. We have also seen a rise in the influenza cases this year, so there are complications that arise post infection. There can be an overall impact on the body because of these factors as well," said consultant pulmonologist Dr Prasanna Thomas.

He added that children are more vulnerable to the respiratory problems, but they are better protected against viruses. People with Asthma, COPD and wheezing should take precautionary measures before the winter season sets in. They should ensure that their disease is contained and managed well.

Most of the common symptoms of cold, persistent running nose, cough, respiratory problems, upper throat respiratory problems and other inconveniences are due to allergens.

"Every year these months we report cases of respiratory issues, especially among children. There are chances of existing problems to worsen due to increase in the polution levels. However, as the temperature increases, the numbers reduce in the subsequent months. Rain also plays a major role in increasing the risk of exacerbations. It is important to monitor the risk factors and allergies to stay protected," said Dr Mohan Kumar, consultant paediatrician at Stanley Medical College and Hospital.

Doctors say that though these infections are common, they do not need hospitalisation but are very likely to reoccur and increase the duration of morbidity if precautions are not taken.

"Pollutants can be a trigger and during Pongal, the celebrations of Bogi and fire crackers can have a temporary impact. Children are very likely to be impacted because of developing body functions and respiratory channels. The use of masks and protection against allergens is important before exposing yourself during early morning or evening hours," said Vasanth Kumar, consultant paediatrician at Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital.

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