Parents need to keep their children safe and healthy during changing seasons, particularly with the rising respiratory illnesses in India. To alleviate their concerns, parents should be updated on health information so that they can easily detect signs of a respiratory infection and take action, if necessary. As the festive season approaches, family visits and large social gatherings increase. Dr Agam Vora, Chest Physician and Medical Director of Vora Clinic, Mumbai, shares that This means there is a chance of infections spreading more efficiently, which makes it vital for people to be cautious and look after themselves and their families' health as they enjoy the festivities.
Respiratory Tract Infection (RTI)
A respiratory tract infection (RTI) affects parts of the body involved in breathing such as the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat, larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), airways, and lungs. It can be caused by a parasite, with numerous infections spreading year-round. This can give the doctor critical information and guide an individual's treatment plan so they can recover more quickly. It's also important to note that there are two types of respiratory infections upper and lower RTIs. Upper RTIs affect one's throat and sinuses, leading to a common cold, sinus infection, tonsilitis, and laryngitis.
Meanwhile, lower RTIs bother people's airways and lungs, resulting in pneumonia, chest infection, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and more. Influenza can be an upper or lower RTI. Usually, lower RTIs hang around longer and tend to be more severe than those affecting the nose, sinuses, or throat. In India, RTIs commonly affecting children include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, COVID-19, adenovirus, and rhinovirus.
Southeast Asian and African regions report the highest incidence of severe RTI worldwide. In India, respiratory-related diseases account for the mortality of around 400,000 children aged below five years every year, which is a higher burden of childhood pneumonia than seen in any other country. This situation is exacerbated during flu outbreaks due to co-infection with bacteria, which can lead to pneumonia in influenza patients.
Regarding bacterial infections, S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae type B (HIB) are the most common. Community-acquired pneumonia cases have dropped as more children get vaccinated for such bacterial infections. However, viral respiratory infections continue to be a concern for children.
Pneumonia can affect all populations, although it is more common in those younger than two years old, and also people older than 65 years of age and immunocompromised individuals. Male children are 18% more likely to be affected by an acute respiratory infection than females, according to an India-based research study. When inhaling, children with pneumonia experience symptoms like fast breathing or lower chest drawing in.