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January 13, 2016

Flu, cold and throat infection on the rise

Lahore

January 13, 2016

Rawalpindi

The population in this region of the country is facing a number of seasonal infections, including cold, flu and throat infections that have taken shape of an epidemic mainly because of high pollution level in the air.

The rain on Tuesday, according to health experts, would help controlling spread of the seasonal infections by improving quality of the air that is engulfed by dusty clouds, toxic metals and vapours in dry chilly weather conditions.

The severe cold dry air had been causing respiratory tract infections along with triggering asthma in patients suffering from the disease. The number of cases of respiratory tract infections, cold, flu and throat infection had been continuously on the rise in this region of the country at least for the last three weeks.

Nearly 70 per cent of all patients visiting outpatient department of Benazir Bhutto Hospital were found to be suffering from upper or lower respiratory tract infections, said Medical Superintendent at BBH Dr. Asif Qadir Mir while talking to ‘The News’ on Tuesday.

He said that rain as well as heavy wind can help cleanse the air. He believes that the rain on Tuesday would definitely help improve the situation however; residents of twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi would have to take extra care to avoid severe effects of cold on their health.

It is important that there is misconception among public that colds and flu are the same whereas actually both are caused by different germs. Mostly these infections are self-limiting within a week or so, however, sometimes complications such as ear and sinus infections in case of colds and pneumonia in case of flu may occur that may be life-threatening.

Medical Superintendent at Holy Family Hospital Dr. Shafiq Sarwar said awareness among public on various aspects of seasonal infections may help control their spread. Colds and flu are caused by viruses and there are over 200 different viruses that can cause colds. The most important thing to control the seasonal ailments is to keep environment clean and one should wash hands frequently, he said.

It is important that a cold and the flu have many of the same symptoms but a cold is generally mild, while the flu tends to be more severe. A stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, no or mild fever, lasting two to four days or a week, are usual signs of cold while tiredness, high fever, chills, headache, and major aches and pains are common signs of flu. Dr. Shafiq said that there is no cure for the cold or the flu as these are self-limiting however one should take medication for relief and to avoid complications. The patients of cold and flu should stay at home and take bed rest properly as it would help them fighting off the virus and checking spread of the infection. It is important that almost all hospitals across the province have been receiving heavy influx of child patients with the infections caused by severe cold.