The cold-related diseases have started spreading across the country, including the capital, at the beginning of winter, affecting people, mainly children and the elderly.
The common cold and flu like disease are now around the corner as the temperature dropped over the last few days across the country.However, this winter comes with additional concerns as health experts fear surge in other illnesses, including coronavirus infection.
Health experts have advised people, particularly children and the elderly, to remain alert about the cold-related diseases, including diarrhoea, flu type diseases and pneumonia.
“We are being affected by various cold-related diseases like flu and a few pneumonia cases in different parts of the country. We have started collecting data in this regard from November 15,” Dr Ismat Ara, in charge of Control Room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told the Daily Sun.
According to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B), on average around 400-450 diarrhoea patients, including children, are rushing to the icddr,b hospital daily while around 50 percent of the patients are children.
Sources from different hospitals in Dhaka and other parts of the country said people, including children and the elderly, with cold related disease already started rushing to the hospitals.
Talking to the Daily Sun, some people of the capital said the patients suffering from cold-related diseases are not getting scope to get admitted to hospitals without Covid-19 test result, for which they have to go to different health facilities amid sufferings.Alif Hossain, father of a child diarrhoea patient in Mirpur, said it is difficult to admit child who is affected by diarrhoea and fever in hospitals during this Covid-19 pandemic.
The health experts said people are affected by various types of cold-related diseases, including acute respiratory infection (ARI), pneumonia, asthma, diarrhoea and jaundice, during winter season.
They said children face various types of cold related diseases, including diarrhoea, caused by rotavirus and pneumonia during winter and the diseases sometimes become severe.
“Very few patients affected by cold-related diseases are coming to hospital now. But we fear that the number of patients of cold-related diseases may increase after around a week,” Kinkar Ghosh, an epidemiologist of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, told the Daily Sun.
He, however, advised people to remain alert and keep their children protected from cold this winter. “Guardians also should wear mask for staying with their children during this coronavirus pandemic in the country,” he added.
Dr ASM Alamgir, Principal Scientific Officer of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said people usually are affected by various types of diseases, including common cold, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and four types of seasonal corona virus. He advised people to remain alert and stay protected from cold to prevent the cold-related diseases.
“If the Covid-19 disease and other coronavirus affect people together during the winter, the situation may deteriorate sharply. Though this is only an assumption, we should remain alert,” Dr Alamgir added.
The DGHS data said around 61 people died of various cold related diseases between November last year and March this year while the number was only 11 in 2018-19.
Dr Ahmedul Kabir, a professor of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), said, “At a time coronavirus infection, dengue and cold-related diseases are now problem for us during this winter. We have to remain alert and take preventive measures to prevent the diseases.”
Talking to the Daily Sun, he said usually during winter, people suffer from various types of diseases, including increased asthma problems, respiratory infection, allergic problems, breathing problems and diarrhoea. “Children particularly suffer from pneumonia and respiratory infections during cold wave,” he added.
Dr Ahmedul Kabir advised people to wear mask, avoid public gathering, maintain hygiene, increase physical activity, keep arrangement of proper ventilation in living rooms and keep children protected from cold during the winter.
The health experts feared that people may become very susceptible to coronavirus like other respiratory viruses and flu-like diseases during the winter due to low humidity, less sunlight, mild vitamin D deficiency and impaired immunity
Meanwhile, Nipah virus has already killed four people this year and fear of the Nipah virus mounts particularly during the winter as many people eat raw date juice, the experts added.