BENGALURU: Bengaluru has seen a high number of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) cases in the past six months, with a total of 23,745 cases from May to October. Experts warn people to take all precautions, and more importantly, take the influenza shot to keep ILI at bay, as it can even be fatal.
ILI is a contagious disease and spreads when a person sneezes, coughs or talks. Going by BBMP data, in May, 9,770 ILI cases were reported, while in June, 3,399 cases were reported, July saw 2,961 cases and August saw 2,982 cases, followed by 3,260 in September. October reported 1,373 cases, and though the figure is comparatively low, health professionals say they are seeing an increase in cases, which will probably shoot up by the end of the month.
Dr Mahesh Kumar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Narayana Health City, pointed out that in the last month alone, many cases were reported, most of them severe, requiring 3-5 weeks for the infection to settle down, though it usually takes 3-7 days. “The world is seeing an increase in influenza cases, after Covid cases came down. The numbers were low last year, but are exponential this year. This is mainly due to people not following hand hygiene or wearing masks. Clearly, people are not even taking influenza vaccine shots, which is essential. One shot can help keep the flu away, and also prevent death.”
Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, HOD of Pulmonology at Manipal Hospitals said, “Before Covid set in, influenza as H1N1 was dreaded. With the focus on Covid vaccination, other inoculations have been pushed to the background. It is important for the elderly and vulnerable population with comorbidities to take both the influenza and pneumococcal vaccine.”
On the brighter side, Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases have come down with only 1,931 cases reported from May to October. Going by this data, the 30-45 age group is largely infected with SARI and ILI, and over 10,653 cases in this age group were reported from May to October.
“Usually this age group has low immunity as a majority of them are alcoholic and smoke a lot. During the pandemic, work from home has made many obese. Once they start moving out, they are bound to catch infections easily. However, SARI cases have been low and people are reporting infections early,” said Dr C Nagaraj, Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute Of Chest Diseases.
Precautions for ILI
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance
Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing
Follow hand hygiene, wash hands often to keep away germs
Avoid frequent contact with eyes, nose or mouth
Healthy lifestyle: Drink plenty of fluids, eat nutritious food, manage stress, do simple breathing exercises, yoga
Clean and sanitise frequently touched surfaces, especially when someone is ill