By Kruthi Pranesh
As Chennai limps back to normalcy following unprecedented rains and flooding, the fear of epidemics has been on the rise. While the floods have already claimed over 300 lives, doctors are volunteering to speed up medical relief for citizens.
With infectious diseases like Leptosporosis and Scrub Typhus, waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, and even malaria predicted to get rampant, doctors say infants and children up to the age of eight and people above 60 are the two major age groups that are likely to be affected the most.
Staff, interns and surgeons from several hospitals have been volunteering extensively across the city to treat flood-affected victims. Paediatric experts and general physicians have been examining over 300-400 patients on a daily basis at individual camps for the past three days. One such initiative is by the Lifeline Hospitals which has 10-12 doctors, treating patients at several venues, with medical resources sourced partly by themselves and partly donated by several relief initiatives. So far, they have held medical camps at Vyasarpadi, T Nagar, RA Puram and Kilpauk.
Creating awareness at one of the medical camps held at the lobby of the GRT Hotel in T Nagar, Dr J S Rajkumar, surgeon and chairman of Lifeline Hospitals said, "After any major deluge, the lack of antibiotics can actually cause several deaths. The immunity becomes so low that people start dying of even basic diarrhea as they consume infected water. Fungal infections start forming in the body and cause major skin issues. For adults, we recommend a dose of Doxycycline for Leptosporosis. Whereas for children, it depends as they have to be examined and only then can be subscribed."
Also seen at the scene were several youngsters assisting people in need of medical help.
"We realised that even the smallest of the cuts, when come in contact with polluted water can cause major infections, which is why there needs to be immediate first-aid. People must be very cautious and should take efforts to safeguard themselves," Dr Anirudh J R, a laparoscopic surgeon, explained.