The district health office has various scary figures to give. Some of them show that over 40,000 persons were taken ill by the viral and bacterial infections this rainy season. Government hospital statistics also give that there is two-fold increase in the number of patients suffering from infectious diseases. A prominent 60 percent of these patients complain of viral fever and severe body ache.
Says Medical superintendent, Balrampur Hospital, Dr DP Mishra: "The hospital's out-patient department (OPD) has seen a sudden spurt in the number of patients suffering from viral fever and infections, diarrhea, gastritis and even gastroenteritis."
To what do city health experts attribute this? According to Lucknow's chief medical officer, Dr AK Shukla, unhygienic civic conditions and the supply of contaminated water are the culprits.
Science teaches that viruses and bacteria become hyperactive during the rainy season. This is due to high levels of humidity and frequent change in temperature. Once viruses or bacteria enter the body, they replicate or multiply till their number is high enough to cause an infection.
The infection first spreads locally. Beginning with tonsillitis, cold and cough, it gradually spreads to the rest of the body. While the indications of viral fever include body and muscle pain, headache, joint pain, redness of eyes, skin rashes and nasal congestion, the signs of bacterial infection are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, says Shukla.
"Most infections spread through inhalation of air-borne particles, intake of contaminated water or food or through direct contact. Avoiding the source of infection can save one from the disease," warns a senior consultant of Balrampur Hospital, Dr GK Tripathi.
Medical specialists usually advice patients to drink plenty of fluids and use cold sponges in case of high fever, avoiding sharing personal belongings and to get lots of rest.
While agreeing that cleanliness is a 'major challenge', nagar swastha adhikari GC Singh was quoted: "There has been laxity on the part of sanitary inspectors and we will look into the matter."