Cough and cold arrive before monsoon

21st June, 2013

If you are suffering from common cold, cough and fever, you may go ahead and blame it on climate change, say general physicians in the city, who have started seeing a rise in the number of patients coming to them with these complaints.

The climate change they are referring to is the change in seasons from summer to monsoon.

Public hospitals in the city saw 119 cases of fever and 29 cases of malaria being reported in the past 24 hours, said BMC sources.

“This is an annual phenomenon. Every year, when monsoon is just around the corner, there is a rise in cases of cold, cough and fever,” said Dr Lalita Kerkar, general physician.

“I often tell my patients that their body is a reliable weather indicator, as it responds to even slight change in the weather,” she added.

Mumbai may not have received any respite from the heat so far, but there has been ample cloud cover in the city for the past few days. The humidity levels in the city too have risen to above 80%. Early this week, Colaba recorded a maximum temperature of 36°C and a minimum temperature of 29°C, while Santa Cruz recorded a maximum of 35°C and a minimum of 29°C.

The Regional Meteorological Centre, Colaba, has predicted cloudy sky as well as the possibility of light rain in some areas over the next 48 hours.
“Weather changes always affect health, as it takes time for the body to acclimatise itself with the changing environment,” said Dr SN Acharya, a Kurla-based physician.

“We see cases of fever throughout the year, but there is a surge when the climate changes. This is because there are some viruses that thrive better in humid conditions. They find a way to get into the nose and air passage and attack the system,” he explained. The immunity level of a body, exhausted by the continuous heat of the summer, is bound to be low, he added.

“Changes in the season towards the onset of monsoon, as well as towards the onset of winter, result in a number of patients complaining of feeling under the weather,” said Dr Rajesh Shah, general physician.

Doctors recommend staying indoors and getting lots of rest. “There is no need to be alarmed. A slight cold and cough can vanish in a day or two, with a little bit of rest and cough syrup,” Dr K Thakkar said, adding that a prolonged cough and high grade fever should not be ignored.

With monsoon just around the corner, the BMC will need to start worrying about bigger rain-related diseases such as dengue, malaria and leptospirosis and gastroenteritis, the doctors added.

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