The heat is on and the soaring temperature has started taking a toll on Mumbaikars. But doctors — swamped with patients suffering from gastroenteritis and respiratory infections — are saying that the heat is not to blame for the rise in cases. They place the blame on the habit of people walking in and out of air-conditioned places and consuming ice with their drinks.
Explaining the rise in cases of gastroenteritis, Dr Jalil Parkar, general physician, Lilavati hospital, said, “With the mercury rising, people are finding comfort in cold drinks and tend to consume more ice, as it provides relief from the scorching heat. But ice is one of the major sources of infection and people should avoid it. Personally, I have seen an almost 15 per cent rise in cases of gastroenteritis.”
Confirming the rise, Dr Shahid Barmare, consultant physician, Kohinoor hospital, said, “There is a 20-30 per cent rise in gastroenteritis cases. The weather is conducive for the bacteria leading to an increasing number of people taking ill. Also, this season, food tends to become stale.”
Doctors also attribute the rise in sickness to constant change in temperatures owing to people taking refuge in air-conditioned rooms and cars. According to doctors, the human body can’t adjust to extreme temperatures in a short period of time and people moving from cool rooms owing to air conditioning to the heat is causing upper and lower respiratory infections. “The public should avoid moving from air-conditioned cars to the outside heat as it causes medical problems,” added Dr Barmare.
Diarrhoea for kids
And it’s not just the adults who are complaining of medial maladies. Paediatricians have observed that the number of children suffering from diarrhoea has also increased. “There is an almost 15 per cent rise in cases among kids aged 5-6. Chicken pox, another disease that is normally seen in the month of May, has also started affecting children,” said Dr Vijay Yewale, paediatrician and convener of Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) Committee on Immunisation (2009-11) Doctors advise parents to monitor their children and keep them hydrated.
“Kids tend to be outdoors and indulge in physical activity. Parents should ensure that kids do not end up over exerting themselves. Proper nutrition and hygiene is a must as the humid weather leads to sweating, which causes dehydration and also triggers skin ailments,” explained Yewale.