Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Rahid Aman says the country has continued to witness as upsurge in COVID-19 cases during this cold season and it being an infectious airbone condition, there are concerns of its rise.
He says this should be a clear wake up call to those with respiratory illnesses to take extra care, as conditions can suddenly worsen during this time.
Speaking during the daily coronavirus press briefings at Afya House Monday, Dr. Rahid Aman said that seasonal variations, including extreme temperatures of both hot and cold, have been associated with increased morbidity and mortality among people with respiratory conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD).
“The cold season has been here with us since the month of June, and is expected to run all the way through this month of August. The season poses various challenges for our people including children and the aged particularly during this period of COVID-19 pandemic.” He said
He further observed that cold seasons like winter can impact lung infections and even worsen the risk of infections. He noted that the risk of Tuberculosis transmission appears to be the greatest during the cold months, particularly in overcrowded and poorly ventilated settings.
Dr Aman said there are several possible reasons as to why infections of tuberculosis tend to rise during the cold season and this is brought about by lack of vitamin D, indoor activities, seasonal changes in immune function and patient or health care systems delays in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis.
“ Most people will tend to congregate in closed spaces in a bid to avoid the cold, while others will light fires in their houses to keep warm particularly patients with Asthma, COPD and allergic rhinitis. Whereas it is important to keep warm, smoke can as well as trigger allergic and asthmatic attacks worsening the situations of persons suffering from those conditions.” He added
On the contrary, he noted that a poorly ventilated and confined room is the perfect scenario for the spread of respiratory infections such as influenza, TB and even COVID-19, because of inadequate space for social distancing, if two or more people are leaving together.
He appealed to Kenyans to take extra precautions during this cold season by ensuring they put in place measures that will expose them to infections.
This includes dressing warming to avoid any triggers, keeping social distance to avoid respiratory infections, wearing a mask, keep well hydrated by drinking lots of water, carrying out physical exercises, for those with underlying conditions it is important to adhere to prescribed medication.
“We cannot overemphasize the need for hands and body hygiene. Seeking medical advice from our health facilities in the event of any illness including experiencing difficulty in breathing. For those with chronic illness make sure adequate supply of medication is available to avoid running out.” He emphasized