Don’t ignore the risk of common Respiratory Tract Infections during the monsoons

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It’s raining infections

Don’t ignore the risk of common Respiratory Tract Infections during the monsoons

    With the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus causing a health scare abroad — it is yet to be reported in India — are we ignoring the other. Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs) that are common during this time of the year? Read on to know more…
MONSOON TRIGGERS RTIs
RTIs are common throughout the year, but get they aggravated during the monsoons due to climatic changes.
    “In the past five to six weeks, I have witnessed an increase in the incidence of various RTIs. Laryngotracheobronchitis, pneumonia and bronchitis are a few examples. The patient demographic varies — from children less than five years old to the elderly (those above 65) and upwardly mobile young people, who travel a lot,” says consultant ENT specialist Dr Sanjeev Bhadwar.
DIAGNOSING RTIs
RTIs are classified into two types — U p p e r Respiratory Tract Infections (URTIs) and Lower Respiratory Tract Infections (LRTIs). URTIs include tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis and the common cold. They show symptoms like mild fever, cold, runny nose, etc.
    On the other hand, tracheo bronchitis and pneumonia come under LRTIs and exhibit symptoms like shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing and tiredness. URTIs can be controlled with symptomatic treatment (under a doctor’s guidance), by taking cough syrups, paracetamol and antibiotics (not always necessary), explains infectious diseases expert Dr Tanu Singhal.
    However, one needs to watch out for LRTIs, as it could signal danger. If any symptom surfaces, consult a doctor. Diagnosis is made through blood tests, throat swabs and X-Ray, if necessary, adds Dr Singhal.
DON’T PANIC
Though RTIs get aggravated during the monsoons, there’s no need to panic. Unlike MERS, which is a serious infection, most others are milder and treatable. “Individuals who travel by air need to exercise maximum caution, especially those travelling to and from from the Middle East, China and other East Asian countries,” says pulmonary specialist Dr Prahlad Prabhudesai.
    lisa.antao@timesgroup.com 

Watch out for LRTIs as it could signal danger