Monsoon viruses — prevention better than cure
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: Prevention is the best way to suppress the diseases spreading alarmingly through the city, causing gastroenteritis fever, eye infection and intestine problems like cholera and diarrhoea.
The Punjab health ministry has instructed the health department and health directorate to launch a campaign to raise public awareness on the causes and preventions of these diseases, especially an eye infection that originated in Karachi but was brought to Lahore by travellers The experts said the diseases were spreading because of the monsoon and were known as ‘rainy season diseases.’ According to reports most outpatients are suffering from viral and bacterial diseases.
“The most important message is that all these diseases can be prevented,” said physician and former principal of King Edward Medical College (KEMC), Professor Mahmood Ali Malik, adding, “The basic reason for the resurgence of these infections is hot and humid weather. These are optimum conditions for bacterial growth and intestine infections become common.”
Prof Malik also attributed a recent spate of skin complaints caused by bacteria and fungi, which grow abundantly during rainy season, to humidity and heat.
The prevention tips, he added, was to keep skin clean, bathe regularly, and use toilet soap.
“We should also wear clean clothes, preferably cotton, and we should change them regularly.” “Some people develop asthmatic attacks during the monsoon caused by fungi which enter the lungs when we breathe.” Viral infection of the nose and throat occur more frequently in winter, “Because people to tend to gather in closed places more often.” He said this is a virus epidemic causing fever, painful throat and bronchitis. “The virus is also causing inflammation of the eyes.”
There is no specific treatment for the disease except to avoid contact with infected carriers and once the disease has spread to treat it is through prevention.
“Eat fresh food, drink boiled water, prefer hot food to cold food because heat kills germs,” he said. People should be careful with old food and keep everything refrigerated, but not for too long. About the rapidly spreading eye infection, ex-KEMC Professor Khalil Rana, presently working at the Ghurki Trust Teaching Hospital, told Daily Times they tracked the case histories of various patients and found Karachi was the starting point from where the disease spread nationwide.
Prof Rana said the only treatment was prevention, adding, “Eyes should be kept clean and in case of infection an antibiotic or anti allergy tablet can be used.”
Teaching hospitals are making the public aware of spreading eye infections and advising them to adopt preventive measures.
“Our job is to treat patients, public awareness campaigns are the responsibility of public heath care departments like the Health Directorate,” Dr Zahid Pervez, the medical superintendent of Jinnah Hospital told Daily Times.