Infections Soar as Cold Snap Hits KSA

2015-0225 Infections Soar as Cold Snap Hits KSA

A man walks over snow after a snowstorm in the desert near Tabuk on Feb. 21, 2015. Health officials are urging the public to take precautions so as not to catch infections amid the cold weather. (REUTERS/Mohamed Alhwaity)

The bitterly cold weather in the Kingdom over the past few days has seen health facilities inundated with sick people, say medical workers.

“The number of patients has trebled due to a cold front that lashed the capital on Saturday evening,” said Halim Siddiqui, an internal medicine consultant at Al-Worood Clinic, on Monday.

Siddiqui said most people are suffering from cold, continuous coughing, sneezing and breathing problems. He advised people with asthma to take extra care.

He said people should avoid wandering outdoors during this weather. “Going to parks should be stopped,” he said, adding that the windows of houses and cars should be airtight to prevent dust and cold air from penetrating.

Bakry Mackeen, a private medical practitioner at the Sun City Polyclinic in Batha, said: “We advise asthma patients to carry their inhalers so they can use them promptly when they get an attack. It is advisable for these patients to meet their doctors and get early treatment to avoid unwanted complications.”

According to the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment, the cold winds are likely to continue to blow over Makkah and Madinah, with visibility reduced because of the dust in the air. Other affected regions include Asir, Jazan, Najran and Al-Baha. The winds would be southeasterly.

As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Health issued a warning for people with respiratory illnesses to stay indoors. It has also placed health facilities on alert. All clinics would be open 24 hours.

The ministry has more than 2,000 health centers supported by major hospitals and clinics. It sent out a circular to all 20 regional directors of health in the Kingdom, ordering them to take special care of patients with asthma, rhinitis, chest infections and eye infections.

A health official said people must wash their hands and faces when enter their houses. “Houses should be airtight so that dust cannot penetrate. Blankets and mattresses should also be free of dust,” he said.


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