Muggy weather and rising humidity are adding to the summer woes of the citizens. As day temperatures hover around 37 degrees Celsius, providing no respite from heat, people are taking ill due to upper respiratory tract infections, gastroenteritis and general weakness triggered by dehydration, say doctors.
Mercury rose to 38 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, the highest recorded in past 20 years.
Dr Suresh Jain, consulting physician and intensivist at privately-run Bombay Hospital and Global Hospital said he sees at least 50 patients a day suffering from heat-related ailments. "Patients are pouring in with fever and weakness, apart from serious disorders. Sweating too much and poor intake of water is making them sick," said Dr Jain.
A cyclone close to 650 kms away from Mumbai that had emanated on Thursday gave a sudden rise to dust levels in the atmosphere, said KS Hosaliker, deputy director general, Met department, Colaba in Mumbai. "Humidity is peaking at about 80% and temperatures are five degrees up from normal causing huge discomfort," said Hosaliker.
Sweltering heat is ideal breeding grounds for viruses – namely rhinovirus and adenovirus.
Rhinoviruses are the most common viral infective agents in humans and predominant cause of the common cold. Also, adenovirus affects the upper respiratory tract. Also it causes gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis and rash illness.
Doctors are picking up cases with upper airway diseases, asthma and bronchitis too.
"Increased humidity exacerbates health conditions when pollution and congestion in the city is already on a high. This leads to dust particles condensing in the lower stratas of the atmosphere closer to land. People get inflammation of throat and upper respiratory tract," Dr Om Shrivastava, consultant, infectious diseases, Jaslok Hospital at Pedder Road.
The rains hit Ratnagiri in Konkan on Wednesday, but onset of monsoon in Mumbai is yet to be declared, said Met officials.