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Bronchitis on the rise

Bronchitis on the rise
Image Credit: Devadasan/Gulf News
The UAE has been hit by heavy rain and thunderstorms recently. Residents also had to face strong winds which caused sandstorms.

Abu Dhabi: Changeable weather conditions in the past few months have resulted in diverse medical conditions such as bronchitis, upper respiratory infections (URI), rheumatism, allergies and asthma.

Most of these conditions have risen to over 40 per cent among patients aged 13 to 35 in the past four months, especially acute bronchitis which may result in a more serious health problem such as asthma or chronic bronchitis which weather experts believe can be caused from pollen.

Bronchitis as a condition often follows a respiratory infection and or a slight cold which results in the inflammation/infection of the lungs; symptoms include a cough accompanied by sputum.

During the past two months 40 per cent of patients have suffered from bronchitis and 50 per cent from URI (an infection caused by a virus affecting the nose, throat, sinus and ears) said doctors.

Dr Asha Suresh, general practitioner at NMC Hospital and Dr K.K. Hedge, paediatrician at NMC Speciality Hospital have seen nearly 6,000 patients in the past two months complaining of bronchitis and respiratory infections.

"Patients mainly suffer from gastroenteritis, bronchitis and asthmatics and changes in voice, a sinus flare-up and allergic conditions. We receive up to 300 patients a day, out of which half suffer from bronchitis and upper respiratory infections; around 20 patients a day are diagnosed with gastritis," said Dr Suresh.

Dr Shaista Urooj Ahmad and Dr Dhia Al Doori, both internal medicine consultants at the Department of Medicine in Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) said: "The UAE weather has recently been transitioning from cool to warmer and ultimately hot; therefore we will always see things like colds and influenza [although we are at the tail end of the flu season], and if the patient is into exercise there may be the danger of heat related illnesses. Additionally the presence of sandstorms can precipitate acute cases of bronchitis in those who have chronic bronchitis."

-Sources: Dartmouth College Health Service; Mayo Clinic

Medical advice on how to stay healthy

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Take lots of vitamin-rich food or vitamin C capsules.
  • Wash your hands often to avoid germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who have colds or the flu. n Avoid exposure to smog and other air pollutants, including second-hand smoke.
  • When you have symptoms of an infection, get it treated promptly.
  • Drink a lot of fluids and eat hot meals.
  • Wear protective clothing especially at night.
  • Avoid unnecessary outings on a windy day.
  • Maintain personal hygiene.
  • For sinus problems, steam inhalation is ideal.

This year: Snow was seen in RAK in January

-January:  fog in most areas, heavy rain in the southwest and snow was witnessed in Ras Al Khaimah.
-February:  fog at start of month with strong winds resulting in rough seas and reduced visibility.
-March:  fog continued in the early mornings.
-April:  strong winds spread sand and pollen - normally why asthma and allergies arise. Thunderstorms, said to affect certain cardiovascular conditions, occurred.

-Source: National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology this year