Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It's raining viruses in the city

It's raining viruses in the city

Bangalore's doctors share some tips to beat the flu and enjoy the rains and the weather

Soumita Majumdar. Bangalore

As the mercury level in the city takes a dip, there are many who enjoy the overcast skies and the breeze. However, city doctors are concerned that they will see a rise in the number of those affected by viruses. At any time of the year, a sudden change in temperature makes for a spurt in the number of those walking into doctors' clinics with complaints of flu.
"Viral infections are likely to rise in the coming days, and it's best that necessary precautions are taken—keeping oneself warm and maintaining good personal hygiene will greatly help in building immunity against viral infection," says Dr Aravind Jagadeesh, consultant, general medicine, BGS Global Hospital.
"It's best to take good care with the earliest symptoms — if you have sore throat, gargle with salt water. However, if you also have a fever and it doesn't subside even after three days, consult a doctor. Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or a tissue paper each time you sneeze," says Dr Aravind.
Pediatricians recommend that children take a flu vaccine. This is especially important if the child's immunity is already compromised, and if there are any medical problems — a cardiac or kidney problem, for instance, or a lung problem or thalassemia. Dr Preethi Galagagi, pediatrician in Rajajinagar says, "Healthy children can handle the flu with medication. However, the vaccine is now an absolute must for all immuno-compromised children."
Nutritionists are quick to point out the importance of a balanced and healthy diet in keeping seasonal illnesses at bay. "The diet can help boost immunity. Children, especially, should have at least three helpings of fruit everyday. Tomatoes and fruits like guavas and mausambi should be an important part of the diet. Fruits rich in vitamin C help keep infections at bay," says Srimati Venkatraman, Manipal Specialty Hospital.
Dr Venkatraman says that another aspect that is often overlooked in cold weather is hydration. People tend to drink less water as it is cold; fluids and micronutrients should form an important part of the diet — micronutrients are readily available in green vegetables, sprouts and salads."
Parents should ensure that children eat enough, and at regular intervals. Dr Venkatraman added that there is need to make ones diet colourful: "The more colourful the diet, the more healthy it is too. Daily diets should have a mix of the range of colours — red, orange, green and yellow."


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