Frequent changes in weather conditions may pose serious health threats

By Muhammad Qasim
February 21, 2024

Rawalpindi: The frequent changes in weather conditions as happened in the last two weeks and significant fall in mercury again and again because of rain spells in this region of the country may pose serious health threats to children and infants.

Commuters on their way at Constitution Avenue during sunny and cloudy weather in Islamabad . — Online

The allied hospitals along with private healthcare facilities in town have already been receiving a heavy influx of child patients with winter-related health threats at least for over two-and-a-half months while the incidence of pneumonia has registered a tremendous increase this season causing hundreds of deaths in the Punjab province.

According to health experts, a sharp fall in mercury again and chilly weather conditions after the recent spell of rainfall in this part of the country along with heavy snowfall on the neighbouring mountainous region may cause further increase in the number of child cases with both the upper and lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia.

Data collected by ‘The News’ on Tuesday has revealed that most of the child cases reaching allied hospitals in town are with upper respiratory tract infections however majority of the admitted patients at Benazir Bhutto Hospital are with complaints of pneumonia or asthmatic problems.

Nearly 60 per cent of the total child patients being taken to the teaching hospitals in town are with complaints of upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Majority of patients visiting outpatient departments of the hospitals are with common cold and flu, the common infections of the upper respiratory tract involving nose, throat, ears and sinuses.

Experts say that it is the need of the time to make the public aware of the various aspects of RTIs and the ways and means to prevent children and infants from these infections. It is important that in a severe cold, if proper care is not taken, complications such as ear and sinus infections in case of colds and pneumonia in case of flu may occur.

The most important thing in the existing weather conditions is that children and infants should be safeguarded from cold and adults with complaints of flu and cold should take extra care while handling children. Experts say that infants should be kept warm while children should be given a healthy diet like soup and eggs.

In cases of cold and flu, the young children below five years of age should not be given adult cough syrups as they might be harmful for their health. It is important that adult cough syrups are contraindicated in young children and they should be given specialised medication. Experts say that parents must avoid self-medication and a child and infant with infection should be given medicine after advice from a qualified physician.

Experts say that delay in presentation of a child patient with lower respiratory tract infection or complications to healthcare facility may put the life of the child at stake. Patients suffering from serious illnesses must be taken to the nearest healthcare facility immediately for proper management.