New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Various hospitals in the national capital are witnessing a spike in the number of seasonal flu cases among children with some even requiring hospitalisation.

Amid fears of a possible third wave of COVID-19, experts at a recent meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had said that as flu and coronavirus have similar symptoms, the Delhi government should continue vigorous testing to keep the spread of COVID-19 in check during the flu season.

Doctors at PSRI Hospital here said 70 per cent of the children coming to OPD have flu-like symptoms. Aakash Healthcare in Dwarka also said they are seeing 50-60 cases of viral illnesses on a daily basis in their OPD.

Dr BL Sherwal, medical director of Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya, said the number of children coming to OPD has seen an almost three-fold increase.

"Earlier, we would see 500-600 patients but this time 1,700-1,800 cases are coming to OPD. This is because of the heavy rainfall this season and this trend has been continuing since the beginning of September," he said.

At Talking about the cases, Dr. Sarita Sharma, Senior Consultant, Paediatric, PSRI Hospital, said children are coming with symptoms like high-grade fever up to 102 to 103 for three to four days.  "Besides cough, cold, poor oral intake, vomiting has also being seen among the children. Cough is dry and spasmodic for small children below five years of age. Few children are also having wheezing problems. This is seasonal Flu caused by a virus affecting the respiratory tract like RSV and Influenza," she said.

She said viral illnesses like dengue, gastroenteritis, typhoid and hepatitis are causing diagnostic dilemmas and then there is also the fear of COVID-19.

Of all the children coming to the OPD with flu-like symptoms, approximately 15 to 20 percent require hospital admission, she added.

According to Dr. Meena J, Consultant, Department of Peadiatrics, Aakash Healthcare in Dwarka, there is a spike in fever cases with vomiting, cold and cough.  "Especially infants under one year are showing severe symptoms, few of them needed to be hospitalised too. Many of them suffer from temperatures as high as 103-104 degrees and the fever does not decrease after oral medication sometimes.

"We are giving them symptomatic treatment like giving heavy fluids for hydration, providing oxygen therapy when the fever is not going away after oral medication," she said.  She advised people to avoid crowded places, maintain proper respiratory hygiene, like covering nose and mouth while sneezing, frequent handwashing, and also suggested that the children should be kept at a distance from the person having cold or fever.

"The viral infection passed on from adults to small children can be very severe. In case your child has a high viral fever and he/she is having less oral intake, you should take the child to the hospital.

"Hydration must be maintained along with proper rest.  In case the baby is showing serious symptoms like high fever and vomiting, delay in consultations can lead to severity. We had a few cases like this who needed to be admitted in NICU," she explained.

Apart from viral flu, Dr Meena said they are also seeing outbreak of dengue among children this time.  "We are seeing three to five positive cases of dengue among children daily from almost two weeks. Children are symptomatic , show fever, body ache, fatigue symptoms and are diagnosed later after tests.

"The need for hospitalisation is increasing as some of the patients are coming with reduced blood platelets. Children with dengue are not among severe cases but we have admitted about three to four cases," she said.

She said it needs to be ensured that there should not be any stagnant water at homes. Mosquito repellents should be used whenever children are going out, she said.