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November 22, 2019

Incidence of respiratory tract infections on the rise in region


November 22, 2019

Islamabad : Respiratory tract infections particularly colds, flu and throat infections along with fever have started hitting population in this region of the country after fall in temperature and almost all public sector healthcare facilities in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi along with private clinics are receiving significant influx of patients with both upper and lower RTIs.

Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that from November 1 to date, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has received well over 9,000 patients with RTIs of which nearly 6000 were child patients.

Deputy Director at PIMS Dr. Waseem Ahmed Khawaja informed ‘The News’ that most of the patients were suffering from upper RTIs having fever, cough, flu and headache while few reached hospital with pneumonia, lower respiratory tract infection. So far, the RTIs claimed no life at PIMS though well over 2000 patients were given extensive treatment and were kept in hospital for over 24 hours, he said.

He added that the PIMS received a good number of RTI patients in emergency. After the setting in of winter and sharp fall in temperature particularly at night till dawn, the PIMS has been receiving a significant influx of patients with upper respiratory tract infections that affect the nose, sinuses and throat generally, he said.

Dr. Khawaja said chronic patients of asthma have started facing complications mainly because of carelessness and it is time for chronic patients to take extra care to avoid RTIs and complications associated with these because the weather conditions are changing swiftly.

He added that the upper RTIs and the lower respiratory tract infections that affect the airways and lungs may hit population in the region more severely in the days to come if individuals do not take proper care at the time.

The weather in the region is in transitional phase and the major reason behind spread of RTIs is lack of awareness among public on how to avoid seasonal ailments, which may cause critical conditions among infants and elderly people, he said.

Dr. Khawaja said the best way to prevent spread of respiratory tract infections is practising good hygiene and having healthy diet to strengthen immune system. Washing hands with soap and warm water regularly is ideal to avoid seasonal ailments. It is important that the RTIs are caused by viruses generally but can be caused by bacteria, he said.

Common cold and flu (influenza) which are very common infections of upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and sinuses) are caused by viruses. These viruses are sneezed and coughed by infected people into the air, he said.

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