RAWALPINDI: The day-long rainfall on Thursday brought a sigh of relief to Zohaib Zaidi. A victim of bad cold for the last 10 days, he had been waiting for an end to the dry spell to get relief from the problem.

“I have consulted doctors and taken antibiotics for five days but could not get relief from the runny nose and cough. The doctors advised me to use liquids and wear mask to avoid the dust in the air. They also said sufficient rains could wash out the virus from the air,” Zaidi told Dawn.

He was among the 217 patients who daily visited the three government-run hospitals in the city for the treatment of flu, cough and fever. The doctors were of the view that the flu virus spread in the air and could only be washed away by rains.

According to data gathered from the hospitals, 102 patients visited Benazir Bhutto Hospital, 57 reached Holy Family Hospital and 58 patients were seen at the District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital.

“The number of flu patients visiting the hospital increased during the last two weeks. We gave the patients medicines but the elimination of the virus could be possible through sufficient rains,” said Dr Nadeem Malik, the additional medical superintendent of the Holy Family Hospital, while talking to Dawn.

He said he was also suffering from the ailment. At the emergency unit, Dr Malik and his colleagues were attending to a large number of people daily. “Medicine is not the perfect solution to the problem and only rain can reduce the symptoms of the virus,” he observed.

He said the rain would decrease the temperature and people should take extra care of their children and elderly people.

While going out at night or in the evening, people should properly cover their bodies with warm clothes to avoid the chilly air, he said.

Dr Javed Hayat, the in-charge of infectious diseases unit at the HFH, told Dawn that the winter rain was in general good for eliminating the flu virus. “The virus breeds in the air in a dry weather,” he said.

He said people usually drink less water in the winter so the flu and cough cases increased. The citizens should use green tea and soup to wash out their upper respiratory system. — Aamir Yasin

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