UAE: Residents warned of rise in flu cases during rainy weather

Parents are urged to be more observant of their children's health and look out for symptoms

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

Published: Sat 18 Nov 2023, 4:02 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Nov 2023, 3:13 PM

There have been a "noticeable increase" in cases of cold and flu cases in Dubai — particularly among children — during the recent spells of heavy rain that hit the country, doctors told Khaleej Times.

“We have observed a rise in instances of acute respiratory infections, such flu and Covid-19 during rainy weather," said Dr Adil Sajwani, family medicine consultant at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital in Dubai.


Since residents usually limit outdoor activities during unstable weather, there is higher likelihood of transmission at home and in the office, the doctor added.

Children below the age of five are among those who are most affected, and elderly people over 60 are reporting high fever, colds, cough, and joint pain, said Dr Osama Elsayed Rezk Elassy, clinical assistant professor, consultant, and head of the division at the centre for paediatrics and neonatology of Thumbay University Hospital.


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Parents are urged to be more observant of their children's health and watch for symptoms like high fever, cold, cough, and joint pain.

"Waterborne infections may also be a concern, which highlights how crucial it is to practise good hygiene and guarantee that everyone has access to clean water,” Dr Elassy said.

Despite making people more prone to respiratory infections, rain may also bring in a host of other illnesses, including mosquito-borne diseases.

“Flooding and water stagnation can lead to the growth of waterborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. These pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses, including diarrhoea, vomiting, and respiratory issues," said Dr Grace Fabrizia Graziani, a specialist in family medicine at Aster Royal Clinic Arabian Ranches.

“Floodwaters can contain debris and sharp objects that can cause cuts, scrapes, and other injuries. Children are particularly vulnerable to these injuries because they are more likely to play in and around water,” she added.

Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms of illnesses that residents should look out for:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting,
  • Fever
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

Prevention

It is crucial to ensure children's safety amidst heavy rain.

“Insist on good hygiene and annual flu vaccinations for children starting at six months of age, especially those who interact with other people and kids. Provide clean water, appropriate attire, and a well-balanced diet,” said Dr Sajwani.

Parents should also remind children to avoid stagnant water. “Prioritise their health by ensuring adequate ventilation, treating symptoms as soon as possible, and thinking about keeping them home from school during heavy rains,” said Dr Elassy.

"Keep an eye out for symptoms, seek medical attention right away if necessary, and, if at all possible, adjust schedules or activities during extended periods of heavy rainfall,” he added.

One way to reduce health risks during bad weather is to modify children's routines and surroundings.

Here are other tips:

  • Dress them appropriately for the weather and practise good hygiene.
  • Limit outdoor activity: This will help to reduce their exposure to floodwaters, stagnant water, and mosquitoes.
  • Keep children's living spaces clean and dry: This prevens the growth of molds and mildew.
  • Use a dehumidifier: This can help to remove moisture from the air, thus reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly

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