Mumbai: Temperature fluctuations takes a toll on health, long cough rampant in city | Representational Image

Amid the fluctuating temperatures and high levels of humidity, the city has reported a rise in pneumonia and breathlessness cases among kids since the past few weeks. Health experts said children, the elderly, and those with underlying immunocompromised conditions such as diabetes and asthma are most susceptible to infection.

What are the common symptoms of such pneumonia?

They stressed that getting timely medical help is important to prevent further complications. Common symptoms of such illnesses include high grade fever with chills, breathing difficulty, phlegm, a constant and irritating dry cough, cold, fatigue, vomiting, irritability, etc.

What are doctor's saying?

A senior doctor from the civic-run hospital said there has been a sudden jump in cases since the last week of December, as children and the elderly are among the worst-affected; those with pre-existing lung problems are facing the brunt. “There is a definite rise in respiratory ailments, and it's sending even healthy kids to intensive care. Around 30% jump has been seen in such cases,” he said.

Dr Chetan Jain, a pulmonologist at the Zynova Shalby Hospital, said that winter is synonymous with respiratory issues due to constant weather changes. Children with weak immunity and chronic lung problems such as asthma, bronchitis, congenital heart disease, and kidney disease are prone to pneumonia.

It can cause severe lung damage and even result in death at times. Hence, timely treatment is necessary, he added. “Illnesses are more prevalent in the winter because contagious respiratory droplets spread more readily in dry air when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Patients are often most infectious 2–3 days after becoming ill. They can still spread the infection to others for up to two weeks while recuperating,” he said.

Dr Tanvi Bhatt, pulmonologist at the SRV Hospital, Chembur, said, “Children should especially avoid being in overcrowded areas, try to limit contact with sick people, cover their mouth and nose when coughing, wash their hands thoroughly, eat foods rich in all the essential nutrients, and perform breathing exercises as directed by the doctor in order to prevent pneumonia. During the winter, keep kids warm, offer them warm drinks, use a humidifier at home and avoid pollution.”

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