Rain ups acute bronchiolitis cases

Bengaluru: With rains lashing the city, viral infections are on the rise with several children falling ill. Doctors said that they are witnessing a rise in respiratory diseases, especially acute bronchiolitis, among children below two years of age.

Dr Sumant Mantri, senior consultant, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Apollo Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, said, “The city is witnessing a rise in cases of bronchitis with 20-30% more patients visiting our hospital every day. It is a bacterial or viral infection where a patient tends to recover within 2-3 weeks with proper medication. 90% of acute bronchitis is caused due to viral infections that lead to cold or flu.”

Experts said that this is caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus which causes an inflammation of the small airway (bronchiole). This inflammation partially or completely blocks the airways, causing wheezing (a whistling sound heard as the child breathes out) which results in decreased oxygen entering the lungs, potentially causing low oxygen in the blood.

“The incidence is more among premature babies, with a pre-existing heart and/or lung disease. Around 5-10 percent of children with bronchiolitis will require monitoring and treatment at a hospital. Most children receive monitoring of vital signs and supportive care including supplemental oxygen being mainstay of treatment,” said Dr Santosh Kumar, Consultant, Paediatrics and Neonatology at Motherhood Hospitals.

Symptoms in infants include excessive coughing, running nose and chest congestion, wheezing while breathing, chronic rapid breathing, fever and colic.

Dr Anil Kumar Sapare, Consultant Paediatric Pulmonologist at Narayana Health City, said, “We see at least 10-12 cases a day, of which 5-6 are admitted to ICU. Acute bronchiolitis is highly infectious and usually spreads from one child to another. Preventive measures include maintaining good hygiene and keeping children away from other children affected with cold and cough.”

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