As the city grapples with a consistent surge in viral fever cases post-pandemic, medical experts are now cautioning the public about an anticipated increase in ear infections during the upcoming winter season. While viral fevers were traditionally associated with specific weather-changing months, their prevalence has extended throughout the year.
In the past, diseases such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), dengue, chikungunya, conjunctivitis, malaria, and stomach infections exhibited seasonal spikes. However, the dynamics have changed, and these ailments are now prevalent throughout the year. The persistence of viral fevers has become a year-round health challenge, demanding increased vigilance from the public and healthcare providers alike.
Medical professionals, including Dr. Narendranath A, a consultant ENT specialist at Fortis Hospital, emphasize a concerning connection between viral fevers and ear infections. Children, especially those grappling with viral fevers, face an elevated risk of developing ear infections. Dr. Narendranath reveals that they are witnessing a daily influx of around 15 cases of people suffering from ear infections, highlighting the urgency of addressing this emerging health issue.
When an individual experiences symptoms such as throat pain, recurrent cold, or cough, the infection can spread to the middle ear through a ventilation tube located behind the nose. This transmission can lead to the infection settling in the eardrum, resulting in ear pain. Dr. Rajath Athreya, senior consultant and HOD in Paediatrics and Neonatology, underscores that children with adenoid hypertrophy and tonsillitis are particularly susceptible to ear infections. However, he acknowledges the challenge of differentiating between genuine cases and instances where ear pain accompanies viral infections, potentially leading to overdiagnosis.
Experts note that the constant circulation of viruses has contributed to a 10-15% expected rise in ear infection cases this year compared to the previous one. Parents are urged to remain vigilant and identify early symptoms like cold, cough, or ear pain. Timely intervention can significantly impact the duration of recovery, as treatment for ear pain can be completed within 8-10 days. However, if the infection progresses to the ear discharge stage, the recovery period may extend to 15 days. In more severe cases involving perforation, the recovery might span several weeks.