Pulmonologists from the Hospital de Clínicas of the National University of Buenos Aires (UBA) warned today that there is “an increase of more than 30% in consultations” for respiratory diseases, and stressed the importance of prevention and timely treatment against the alerts for low temperatures in the country.
“At this time of year there is a significant increase in respiratory diseases,” warned the head of the Pulmonology Division of the Hospital de Clínicas, Ana Putruele.
Among the main symptoms that may occur are fever, chills, sore throat and cough, which “are the result of our immune system reacting to invading organisms,” he explained.
And he added that “cough is an indicator that something is not right, it can be a dry cough or cough with phlegm that, when it is yellowish, indicates some type of infection.”
Wheezing and tightness in the chest, fatigue or shortness of breath (dyspnea), sneezing and headache are also some of the main indicators of a respiratory disease.
Likewise, the specialist stressed that it is “very important” to consult a specialist as soon as the symptoms begin.
In relation to pharyngitis, “more than 100 cases of pharyngitis have been reported in Argentina with low mortality, but important in severe cases,” they specified from the Clinics.
“Streptococcus Pyogenes brings a very strong sore throat that is confused with any angina of viral origin and can include skin changes, such as spots or blisters,” Putruele explained.
In the presence of symptoms, “you have to do a swab and treat it with antibiotics,” he explained.
Regarding the virus that causes Covid, from the hospital they stressed that, thanks to vaccination, there are few cases and there are practically no swabs.
As for seasonal flu, worldwide, there are 3 to 5 million serious cases and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Not only the cold makes us sick, but also the exposure to germs depending on the season,” the doctor clarified.
“The flu virus in drier or less humid climates causes the mucosa of the eyes and nose to dry out – he completed -, so we are more susceptible to bacteria and viruses since this weakens our first line of defenses ».
On the other hand, people “tend to spend more time in closed environments that favor the transmission of viral diseases or leave very cold environments, thermal changes that stimulate the appearance of diseases,” said the pulmonologist and explained that “some Viruses, such as influenza, during the winter season find better conditions to circulate, they remain in the air for longer.
For the prevention of flu, Putruele warned that patients with previous respiratory diseases should be vaccinated just like young children.
In relation to pneumonia, there are three types that specialists see more frequently: that produced by pneumococcus; the one that affects immunocompromised patients and the one associated with the respirator.
The latter two occur in very specific situations, where drug resistance is high and should be treated with greater care by specialists, they specified.
«The risk groups -of pneumonia- are children up to two years of age and adults from 55 years of age. The number of deaths per year increases very significantly from that age”, explained the doctor and warned that patients with comorbidities, COPD or bronchial asthma “should be vaccinated, take the usual medication or reinforce it”.
In relation to people with asthma, one of the main non-communicable diseases that affects children and adults, “the key is to control the symptoms and to regularly visit a specialist doctor,” Putruele concluded.
To protect immunity, the main recommendations of the Hospital de Clínicas are to wrap up properly and implement the preventive measures applied in the Covid pandemic: use of a mask, ventilate rooms, apply alcohol diluted 70% in water to your hands, stay away from people who are symptomatic and cover your cough.