Jul 11, 2019
Risks of respiratory tract infections in summertime :
Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) cannot be limited to winter because several factors, and also our habits are changing during that season.
In fact, the important temperature variations, and use of air-conditioning can be associated to respiratory disorders, such as rhinitis, throat infections, etc…
Also people looking for some freshness, are enjoying the pleasure of baths in swimming pools, which can be associated to greater risk of otitis externa, and more specifically infections due to Staphylococcus aureus.
It shall be underlined, as well that patients at risk of recurrent respiratory infections, such as patients suffering from allergies, asthma, and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary diseases) shall be cautious and continue preventive measures recommended by Health Care Practionner’s to limit risk of infections. It is in fact to note, that a second peak of acute exacerbations episodes in COPD patients can be observed during summer.
Bacterial lysates are mixtures of bacterial antigens derived from different inactivated pathogenic bacteria. The principle of bacterial lysates is to trigger immune surveillance and to up-regulate immune defences to prevent and help fight infections. Polyvalent mechanical bacterial lysate (PMBL®) is a blend of inactivated bacterial strains representing the most common occurring pathogens of the respiratory tract (13 strains).
View from the Expert: Pr Giovanni Di Perri, Professor of Infectious diseases, University of Turin, Italy
Question 1 : In your practice, do you see different pattern of respiratory infections in summer compared winter? What are the main causes of such infections at summer time?
In summer, older patients with chronic conditions are at risk of decompensation, mainly for reasons associated to dehydration and hyperosmolarity. The development of an acute infection of the respiratory tract may play the role of precipitating event in the overall health balance of such a patient. In general terms, the microbial etiology of these episodes does not change substantially.
Newer microbial entities might also appear, as testified by the 2003 SARS diffusion into Canada and the summer 2009 Swine Influenza. Circulation of people nowadays keeps on the increase and as a consequence the traditional geographic barriers of infectious and tropical diseases are no longer the same.
Beyond the pure respiratory pathogens, the examples of Chikungunya, West-Nile and Dengue epidemics in temperate climate countries represent examples of unpredictability of infectious diseases spread.
Question 2 : Did you notice an impact of climate change in the epidemiology of infections during summer time? Any more frequent visits during pollution peaks?
These epidemics I’ve just mentioned also testify the importance of climate change, as new habitats for specific vectors have been established in countries where these viral diseases have never been reported in the past. Another contribution of summer climate to infectious diseases is the one linking the use of air conditioning to the risk of Legionella sp. Pneumonia. It is well known that among the atypical organisms causing pneumonia, Legionella sp. is the one associated to the highest risk of mortality. Exposure to droplets containing the organism may actually happen more frequently in summer, also as a consequence of more frequent shower use.
Question 3 : Are these infections occurring during summer more difficult to treat? Are there more relapses of these infections? What are your recommendations, to prevent those infections?
We must consider that those developing infections of the respiratory tract in summer have underlying factors making them more vulnerable than the general population; while the denominator of patients at risk for RTIs is much wider during the winter season, in summer the patients at risk are mainly those who have predisposing disabilities. The most meticulous care of patients being assisted for diseases like COPD, asthma, allergy, cardiovascular insufficiency and other chronic conditions, is the best way to actually reduce the risk and/or severity of respiratory tract infections; as said the added variable in summer is dehydration, that requires a careful management. Vaccination and other commonly adopted preventive measures should not be disregarded even in summer.