New Delhi: As influenza A (H3N2) continues its insidious spread across Delhi, over-the-counter sales of medicines, including bronchial cough syrups, anti-allergy medicines and paracetamol tablets have seen an over 25 per cent increase in the last one month.
According to city chemists, while the sale of anti-allergic medicines at the retail counters has increased by nearly 35 per cent, cough syrups of different kinds have seen sales go up by over 25 per cent in the last 45 days.
Basant Goel, general secretary (north-east zone) of the Retail Distribution Chemists’ Alliance (RDCA), confirmed this spiralling in the sale of these medicines and added that most cough syrups sold were for allergic bronchitis, with persistent cough being the main trait of the flu virus.
“People are also buying ayurvedic cough syrup for relief from the persistent cough,” said Dinesh Arya, district president (north-west zone), RDCA. He said that the sales of cough syrups had shown an increase of up to 30 per cent and the ratio of sales of allopathic and ayurvedic syrups is 70:30. He added that people were asking for various types of cough syrups to deal with the dry cough.
Echoing similar views, district president of south-east zone of RDCA Sandeep Jain said that there was a phenomenal increase in the prescriptions of medicines for dry cough and allergies. “More than 75 per cent of the prescriptions we are dispensing are related to this problem,” he said, adding that non-prescription medicines being bought by people included lozenges, herbal syrups and natural remedies for cough.
RDCA east-zone president Vishnu Dua, who runs Vishnu Medicos in Laxmi Nagar, said the demand for cough syrups for soothing throats wracked by dry cough shot up after doctors started prescribing them for instant relief. Besides syrups, people also buy various kinds of lozenges on their own to get relief, sending their sales soaring by up to 25 per cent.
Doctors informed that the H3N2 virus affects the throat along with the bronchial tree and this causes bronchial irritation and the patient suffers problems like asthma and breathing difficulties. The cough is persistent due to an allergy and air pollution can also be considered a factor in this.
The best remedy, according to clinical therapy, is the use of anti-allergic medicines and mild broncho dilators or inhalers. Apart from cough syrups, these will help patients to respond to the treatment. However, doctors cautioned that multiple courses of antibiotics do not offer any benefit.