Srinagar: Doctors have reported an increase in the number of fever cases driven by seasonal influenza in the valley.
The symptoms of seasonal flu are similar to that of Covid-19. These include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, generalized body aches, fatigue, nasal congestion.
A senior doctor at SMHS Hospital, Srinagar, said on average, they generally get 10-15 patients a day complaining of flu and viral infections. But in the last four weeks, the number has gone up to 30-40 patients.
He said the sudden changes in the temperature provide ideal conditions for flu-causing pathogens. “With alteration in temperature and additional factors like a lot of marriage ceremonies are going on at present. People hardly take any precautions and end up acquiring flu,” the doctor said.
He noted that all fevers with respiratory tract infections must seek medical care. “We are dealing with Covid-19. In such a situation, fevers should not be ignored. People especially who have comorbidities like diabetes, cancer, heart, liver, and kidney disease must consult a doctor if they have a fever. Comorbidities not only increase the risk of death in Covid-19 patients, but it can also increase the severity of flu,” the doctor said.
However, Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Soura, Dr. Farooq Jan said the hospital has not seen any significant increase in flu cases.
“We haven’t reported any upsurge in flu cases so far,” Dr. Jan said.
HOD Community Medicine, GMC Srinagar Dr. Salim Khan had earlier told The Kashmir Monitor that influenza is a seasonal viral disease affecting all ages and more severely among elderly and comorbid people.
“It’s recommended that we take an annual shot of flu vaccine. Also, as against various states of the country including the Jammu region, in Kashmir, the seasonal variability is here and we get most cases in winters and springs. So it’s recommended to get WHO recommended flu vaccine for the northern hemisphere for the year 2021-22 as strains mutate every year and we need the latest vaccines every season,” Dr. Khan said.
He said the ideal time for the flu vaccine is October onwards, earlier the better as it takes 2-3 weeks to develop antibodies.
“There’s no interaction between COVID vaccine and Influenza vaccine. So those who have taken COVID vaccines shall take flu shots also,” Dr. Khan said.