By Melvin Mathew

There’s a sudden surge in cases of allergic and seasonal bronchitis in the city; health experts suggest avoiding pollution and staying alert

As schools, offices and theatres trudge back to a pre-pandemic reality, doctors from hospitals across the city are reporting a rise in viral, allergic and seasonal bronchitis. Though the cases are not alarming, they say that it’s unusual for such cases to appear during this time.

An increasing number of patients are visiting hospitals complaining of cough, common cold and wheezing in some cases as well. While most cases are just mild and are being treated with antibiotics, doctors are unable to pinpoint the exact reason for this rise. After the third wave of Covid, there was a dip in such cases and during the third wave, most patients reported symptoms of cold and cough were associated with Omicron cases. For the past weeks, doctors are seeing a small surge in cases.

“There is an upsurge in seasonal, allergic and viral bronchitis. We are seeing around 3-4 patients per day. Most patients are presenting symptoms of a common cold, predominantly dry cough, audible wheezing and breathing difficulty in some cases. Symptoms are worsening in the patients with comorbidities but in most cases, it’s not serious. But due to the weather conditions, we could expect a surge in the coming days,” said Dr Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant - Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital.

According to Dr Pavan Yadav, Lead Consultant - Interventional Pulmonology and Lung Transplantation, Aster RV Hospital, usually, patients used to only complain of discomfort during the winter season but this year, patients are complaining during summer also. He said that they were seeing seven - eight patients daily with headaches, running nose, cough and breathing issues. Patients with lung-related comorbidities have a risk of infection, he added.

“After Covid, there has been a rise in patients complaining about allergy problems. Even patients who had Covid once are also reporting allergy symptoms. A child who had Covid earlier landed in an emergency after an asthma attack,” said Dr Sachin Kumar, Senior Consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Sakra World Hospital.

Doctors feel that uptick could be due to the relaxations in social and work circles leading to sudden exposure to other viruses and pollution. With citizens masked up for the past two years, the intensity of the exposure along with Covid had lessened.

Most patients are presenting symptoms of a common cold, predominantly dry cough, audible wheezing and breathing difficulty in some cases – Dr Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant

- Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital

Doctors also feel that improper usage of masks could also be the reason for this uptick. Either people are not strictly wearing masks or the prolonged usage of masks could be one of the reasons according to docs.

“Throwing masks all around the place and multiple reuses of masks without washing could be a factor in these cases. Post third wave, there is an alarming lack of hygiene,” added Dr Chowti. Medical experts conclude that people should continue following Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks, regular sanitisation and social distancing.

Docs advise patients with symptoms to not wait for the symptoms to worsen before seeking medical help. They also advise avoiding polluted places and exposure to smoke that could trigger the symptoms.

“Post Covid, there is a larger awareness about adult vaccination and people in the elderly age group and with chronic lung diseases should consider getting vaccinations against flu and pneumonia infections,” added Yadav.

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