Lucknow: As the mercury goes down, the number of patients with respiratory infections is going up alarmingly. Since most of the patients with repeated infection are found to have a COVID-19 history, doctors suspect that reduced immunity because of previous infections and rise in pollution following dip in temperature could be the probable reasons for the infection.
According to doctors, most of the reinfections across all age groups are happening within a gap of a month. Prof Ved Prakash, Head, Pulmonary and critical care medicine department, King George Medical University (KGMU), said: “We are seeing a rise in frequency of upper respiratory infections and reinfections across all age groups. Earlier such two to three repeated upper respiratory infections were being witnessed daily; now this number has doubled.”
This could be because people have become vulnerable to other influenza viruses due to low immunity following damage caused to lungs by COVID-19. He said that the condition of those already suffering from respiratory diseases has also aggravated.
Prof Darshan Bajaj, faculty at pulmonary medicine department, KGMU, also accepted the rise in repeated respiratory infections. “The exact role of COVID-19 can be ascertained after the research but rise in pollutants like particulate matter PM 2.5 and PM 10 after temperature dip can be one of the reasons.
“Particulate matter PM2. 5 and PM10 stick to the windpipe and lungs hindering proper respiration. Our immune system gets activated against these foreign objects which results in inflammation. In this fight between foreign objects and our immune system, remodelling of our airways takes place which, in the long run, may lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), cancer, asthma and other respiratory tract problems,” he added.
At Lok Bandhu Raj Narain Hospital, doctors have also found a considerable rise in the number of respiratory patients, of which 10 per cent are repeated infections. “From an average of nearly 70 patients a day, the number has gone up to 90 patients a day. Most of these patients already have comorbid conditions,” hospital chief medical superintendent, Dr Ajay Tripathi said.
At TB hospital in Thakurganj, the average number of patients has gone up from 30 to 45. “Most patients complain of breathlessness and burning sensation in the eyes in the morning and evenings. Not only elderly patients, but middle-aged and young people are also visiting us with this problem,” said hospital director, Dr Anand Gupta.