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November 9, 2018

Respiratory tract infections among children on the rise


November 9, 2018

Rawalpindi : With the setting in of winter, the incidences of respiratory tract infections among children is continuously on the rise as the three teaching hospitals in town are receiving 300 to 400 child patients with RTIs daily on average.

Data collected by ‘The News’ has revealed that 40 to 50 per cent of all child patients visiting allied hospitals in town including Holy Family Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital and District Headquarters Hospital are with the complaints of upper respiratory tract infections including colds, flu, cough, sore throat and fever.

The incidence of both the upper and lower respiratory tract infections including pneumonia is recording a rising trend however at present, majority of child patients reaching healthcare facilities are with upper RTIs, said Head of Paediatrics Department at Rawalpindi Medical University Professor Dr. Rai Muhammad Asghar while talking to ‘The News’.

He said the rising trend hints towards carelessness or lack of awareness among parents on how to safeguard their children from seasonal infections. The incidence of colds, sore throat, cough, flu and pneumonia can be avoided through proper preventive measures, he said.

Health experts believe that sudden fall in temperature accompanied with high pollution level in the air is causing spread of RTIs and immediate rain as well as heavy wind is needed to cleanse the air quality.

Professor Rai said to avoid upper and lower respiratory tract infections, children should be protected from cold by using warm clothing while infants should be breastfed at least for two years. Parents should avoid children from getting wet to avoid pneumonia and the environment of the children should be kept clean, said Dr. Rai.

He added that to avoid complications of RTIs and pneumonia, children below five years of age must be administered pneumococcal vaccine and haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB) vaccine which is available under Expanded Program on Immunization. Both the vaccines are available at the allied hospitals free of cost.

School-going children should not be allowed to consume ice cream, cold drinks and other like cold dishes and they should be protected from cold and should be given green tea with honey. Both the infants and school going children should be protected from all types of smoke that contains greater number of allergens, said Dr. Rai.

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