Respiratory infections dip in Bengaluru due to wearing of mask

  • | Friday | 8th January, 2021

Pulmonologists say the decline is nearly 50 per cent of breathing ailments are gone post-COVID due to wearing masks. The pandemic has, ironically, resulted in a steep decline in flu and respiratory infections in Bengaluru, thanks to the use of masks, physical distancing, awareness on the importance of hygiene and the schools being closed. 

Pulmonologists say the decline is nearly 50 per cent of breathing ailments are gone post-COVID due to wearing masks. The pandemic has, ironically, resulted in a steep decline in flu and respiratory infections in Bengaluru, thanks to the use of masks, physical distancing, awareness on the importance of hygiene and the schools being closed. 

“The number of anti-flu prescriptions we write for patients has fallen significantly,” said Dr KS Satish, president, Karnataka Pulmonologists’ Association. “We don’t have raw data nor has a study been conducted, but compared to previous years, upper and lower respiratory infections have definitely dropped by 50%. This could be due to the use of masks.”

Dr Ravindra Mehta, chief of pulmonology, Apollo Hospitals, said the winter months —November and December for instance — are generally the busiest for practising Pulmonologists. But that wasn’t the case last year. Dr Mehta believes another contributing factor is the reduction in construction activity in Bengaluru.

“Doctors who are vulnerable to infections during this season and regular patients have told us that they have had no issues this year,” Dr Mehta said. “Awareness on use of masks among those suffering from pre-existing lung conditions and asthma has really helped. It’s true of the general population too.”

However, Dr Satyanarayana Mysore, HOD, dept of pulmonology, Manipal Hospitals, said transmissible infections and upper respiratory tract infections had come down during the lockdown period, but have been gradually increasing now.
“I don’t think wearing masks has played a major role,” Dr Mysore said. “Mask compliance is just about 10%. It is possible wearing masks may have been a contributing factor, but masks have become an ornament on the jaw or like a neck tie serving no purpose.”

Dr Satish conceded that adherence to the mask rule is not 100%, but pointed out that those who are aware, are using masks effectively and that has definitely helped.



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