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29 December 2017 07:32 am

Hospitals see rise in flu cases as weather changes

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Many people are still prone to catching seasonal flu and respiratory diseases, although the country has a mild winter. With a change in weather conditions, hospitals and clinics across the country have reported a surge in seasonal flu cases, while pharmacies have seen a high demand for several over-the-counter flu medicines. 

The number of seasonal flu cases, tonsillitis and bronchial asthma has increased over the past few days, say doctors. Flu mostly results from cold weather, while the winds and dust cause tonsillitis and bronchial asthma among children and adults.

Cases of seasonal flu in Qatar increase as the temperatures fall in October and it will continue until the end of February.

“Seasonal flu is common during between October and February and many people present with fever, body pain, cough and cold. Some gradually develop respiratory problems like bronchial asthma, especially due t the wind and dust,” Dr Gireesh Kumar, Specialist, Internal Medicine at the Aster Hospital told The Peninsula

Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes periodic ‘attacks’ of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. When tonsils are infected by bacteria or viruses, they swell and become inflamed, a condition known as tonsillitis. 

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Dr Kumar advices that simple precautions will prevent from catching the seasonal flu. 

“It’s always better take precautions and keep safe from the cold and dust. It is also important to cover the nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing as infections could spread to others,” he said. 

Demand for cold and flu medications at pharmacies have increased and many people buy over-the counter medicines including some types of syrups for cough. 

“The demand for anti flu medicines is high these days. Many customers come for medicines like Paracetamol, Vitamin C, Strepsils and some types of syrups for cold and cough,” said a pharmacist working with a leading pharmacy in Doha. 

The high-risk category for the severe flu include small children under the age of five, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other chronic lung conditions, people with cancer and those on immunosuppressive therapy and the elderly. 

Most health care providers have started giving vaccination against seasonal flu. However, health experts say that anti-flu vaccination should be taken ahead of the season as a precaution. (Source)