The rising temperatures in the city have caused an increase in the chicken pox cases being reported in the hospitals. Doctors say the onset of summer is when the chickenpox virus starts becoming active, majorly affecting children.
Dr Sudha Menon, director of Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, said there have been cases but the situation has not taken epidemic proportions. “The chickenpox virus spreads more in warm weather, but otherwise, the disease is scattered over the year. There has been an increase in the number of cases over the last couple of weeks,” she said.
Dr Gangadhar Belavadi, pediatrician, Vani Vilas Hospital says the hospital gets one or two cases on an average. “There are not many cases. It is a common phenomena in this season,” he added. While the season is to blame for the spread of the disease, many doctors feel other factors could be at play too. “Kids may not be immunised against the disease and that is resulting in the increase,” said Dr Jagadish Chinnappa, consultant paediatrician, Manipal Hospitals.
Delay in treatment and not resorting to medication to manage it may be reasons for the disease reaching advanced stages. “Traditional ways of managing the problem is causing resistance to medication. Patients who have an older family member tend to be given home-based treatment and when it does not work, they come to doctors, but by then the disease would have accelerated. In such cases, we have to wait for it to heal as it is a self-limiting disease,” said Dr Menon. As soon as lesions appear, a doctor should be consulted within 24 to 48 hours for treatment to work, she added.
Also, mistaking rashes and foot and mouth disease as chicken-pox results in unwanted panic. “If parents notice a few lesions on their kids’ skin, as long as the child is eating and sleeping well, there is no need to worry,” said Dr Chinnappa. However, the case of complicated chicken pox calls for attention. If a child develops very high fever, lesions get infected along with being red or black in colour and with pus collection, bleeding through the nose or breathing problems, then they need to be taken to the doctor immediately,” Dr Chinnappa said. For short term management in newborn children or pregnant women, a chickenpox immunoglobulin has to be administered soon after exposure to an infected person, he added