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If cold persists, consult a doctor

M. Sai Gopal


HYDERABAD: The season of Upper Respiratory Infections (URI) has started with the advent of monsoons in the capital and elsewhere. Timely treatment and precautions are mandatory to fight common cold, flu, inflammation of the sinus and nasal cavity and infection of the respiratory tract. And if proper care is not taken, then such ailments could graduate to pneumonia and impact lungs.

Upper respiratory infections are very common and the symptoms include sore throat, running nose, cough, lethargy and even breathing difficulty. Cautioning parents, physicians said that children are most susceptible to such infections during rainy season.

Most of the URI are self limiting and that prompts public to avoid consulting a doctor. The origins of URI are bacterial, fungal and viral. The viral infections, however, spread rapidly and patients should not hesitate to consult a pulmonologist when symptoms are severe and continue for more than a week.

High risk groups including children, diabetics, persons suffering from hypertension, heart, kidney and liver ailments, those taking immunosuppressant drugs with weak immunity, pregnant women and HIV patients have to get admitted to the hospital if symptoms persist for more than a week.

“High risk group patients should get seasonal flu shots. There are three vaccines that should be administered to such persons. They include flu vaccine, haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine for pneumonia. There is no need for general public to get vaccinated because they have decent levels of immunity,” points out senior pulmonologist and State coordinator for H1N1, Dr. K. Subhakar.

Doctors advice that infected persons should take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading. “Most of the URI are air-borne infections. Infected patients should have some responsibility and discipline. They should have cough etiquette and use a mask when they go outside,” Dr. Subhakar suggested.

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