Bengaluru hospitals see a spike in H1N1, flu cases – Deccan Herald

Health

A long stretch of unusual weather conditions and dipping temperature in the city has resulted in unusually large number of fever cases in the last month. While there has been seeing a rise in Covid cases, doctors say they are seeing an increase in regular flu, H1N1 and dengue cases as well.

Dr Ravindra Mehta, who heads Apollo Hospitals’ Advanced Pulmonary Services, said, “Among those on ventilators in Apollo hospitals now, over 50 per cent have been diagnosed with H1N1 and flu combined, Covid cases are fewer. The high-risk groups should take the combination vaccine for flu and H1N1 – this should be pushed with as much gusto as Covid vaccine”.

“Flu vaccine can protect susceptible groups”, said Dr V Ravi, member of the state’s Covid Technical Advisory Committee. 

The symptoms of flu, H1N1 and Covid are similar – fever, cough, cold and running nose. So, without testing it’s difficult to differentiate the type of illness. The precautions to be taken for these are also similar. Doctors warn that Covid-appropriate behaviours like masking, sanitisation and avoiding crowds can also protect people from H1N1 and flu, and should be followed strictly.

Cases higher than usual

Dr Santosh Saklecha, specialist in internal medicine and rheumatology at Santosh Hospital, says the hospital’s OPD gets 50 to 70 fever cases daily. Of them, around 20 per cent are dengue patients, while the rest have upper respiratory tract infections like flu, H1N1 or Covid. 

“We do expect a rise in cases in the months starting from June till September. But, this time we see over 50 per cent increase in upper respiratory tract infections compared to pre-Covid years. In the last couple of months, the weather has been bizarre – we are seeing a mix of extreme weather conditions both hot and cold. Viral infections generally spread more in these seasons,” said Dr Santosh.

Dengue cases are also on the rise in the city, owing to the rains and mosquitoes breeding in stagnant rainwater. The usual precautions like keeping surroundings clean and ensuring that there is no stagnant water around homes, buildings can reduce dengue cases. Dr Ashok M L, professor of medicine, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, says the city has seen some cases of malaria too.

Hospitalisations low

Despite the high number of infections, hospitalisation remains low in Bengaluru. City doctors said only a minuscule percentage of fever patients eventually get admitted in hospitals. Dr Ravi said, “There’s no likelihood of hospitals getting overloaded. Patients getting admitted for SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Infections) are getting tested for H1N1 or Covid, and the numbers aren’t much. As of now, TAC is monitoring the situation and we haven’t raised any alert”.

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