Seasonal disease: Fog and cold cause 20 per cent increase in respiratory diseases

Published: December 27, 2012

“Asthma patients are more vulnerable to viral diseases...they should avoid breathing in fog in the morning and evening,” says Dr Amjad.

LAHORE: The number of people reporting respiratory infections in the city’s hospitals since temperatures have fallen has increased by twenty per cent.

Several doctors said most patients have been suffering from seasonal diseases caused by the low temperature.

“There has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of people reporting upper respiratory and chest infections in the last few days,” said Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh, the Pakistan Medical Society president and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Deputy Medical Superintendent (DMS).

Sheikh said upper respiratory infections were viral infections which last around two weeks. “These can affect anyone who comes in contact with the infected individual,” he said. He said one should avoid fog. He advised people to cover up their head and wear warm clothes before going outdoors.

“Children under the age of five are catching cold quite frequently,” said Dr Muhammad Kamran, a pediatrician at Mayo Hospital. He advised mothers not to bathe infants more than once a week. “Babies must be covered in blankets at night and should not get wet,” he said.

“Asthma patients are more vulnerable to viral diseases…they should avoid breathing in fog in the morning and evening,” said Dr Muhammad Amjad, an ear, nose and throat specialist. He said those who go out early in the morning should use breathing masks.

“People should inhale steam regularly in winter,” said Dr Israrul Haq Tor, professor of medicine at Lahore General Hospital.

He advised motorcyclists to wear helmets to avoid catching an infection.

Allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis (running nose and breathing problems) and respiratory diseases are common among adults while bronchial pneumonia is common among children, said Dr Shahid Malik, an assistant professor of community medicine at the Institute of Public Health. He said diabetics and heart patients should take special care and wear warm clothes.

Dr Shahid Iqbal, a general physician, said the number of patients with seasonal diseases had increased since the fog had started descending. He said people should wear warm clothes especially in the morning and evening to avoid seasonal diseases. He advised against giving children juices or yogurt.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 27th, 2012.

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