Srinagar: Kashmir is reeling under a wave of cold and flu symptoms in adults and children, causing a spike in people seeking treatment in hospitals. Experts have cautioned against panic and self medication.
At GB Pant Children Hospital, the sea of people with sick children does not ebb till late afternoon.
In Casualty also, the patient load has increased drastically over the past month, doctors said.
Prof Muzaffar Jan, Head Department of Pediatrics at GMC Srinagar said the patient number in OPD has increased by at least 25 percent in the recent past.
“However, this is the norm almost every year. In these two months, March and April, we have huge number of children being brought with fever, cold, flu symptoms,” he said.
Prof Jan said that the children are provided treatment on OPD basis only and do not require admission. “We provide symptomatic treatment to patients, and children also get better on their own,” he said.
Asked when a child should be brought to the hospital in case of flu symptoms, he said, “If there is high-grade temperature, difficulty in breathing, difficulty in feeding or any other severe symptoms.” He advised parents not to panic in case of flu symptoms. “Most of it is either allergic or some mild virus. There is absolutely no need to panic,” he said.
In adults too, similar symptoms are being reported in great numbers, doctors said.
Prof Naveed Nazir Shah, Head Department of Chest Medicine at GMC Srinagar said that almost everyone having flu symptoms, when tested for COVID19 is found negative.
“It is not COVID but may be some other virus and also the number of seasonal allergies that are making people sick,” he said.
Prof Shah said this year, there seems to be a higher incidence of flu and cold as the masks are not being worn by people.
“For the past two years, we had masks on, there was no school and minimal interaction. So there we were protected from all kinds of respiratory viruses as well as allergic matter in air,” he said.
Prof Shah said that people must not use antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor. “Use over the counter medicines for mild fever and decongestants to relive symptoms,” he said.
He said that winters and spring in Kashmir are seasons when respiratory infections rise. “We have a high number of patients, yes. But this is expected,” he said.