A few days ago, RMC Kolkata had already predicted a late start to the winter season in Kolkata. Though
the day temperatures had dipped to around 15 degrees in early December last year, they are still
steadily hovering between 22 – 25 degrees now.
What the Met Office is saying
“The day temperatures need to remain at a steady 15 degrees for at least a couple of days before we
may assume that it is the winter season in the city,” said G.K. Das, Director, RMC. Kolkata experiences a
nip in the air from mid- November onwards that steadily intensifies accompanied by a drop in the
temperatures before inhabitants start bringing out their winterwear. December is hailed as a winter
month here. It tends to remain that way almost till mid- January when temperatures start rising once
more. Weather experts have hinted that beyond December 5, when Cyclone Michaung starts
weakening, the city may start witnessing clear skies and a chill caused by temperatures dipping.
Fluctuating weather conditions affecting patients
The fluctuating weather conditions in the city are proving to be a cause for concern for chronic patients
suffering from asthma, COPD, and other common respiratory diseases. There are some severe cases of
pneumonia and upper respiratory tract disorders. The elderly are more prone to be affected as in
previous years. Persons with compromised immunity are getting affected as well. Increased air pollution
which is common around this time of year coupled with erratic weather conditions has resulted in viral
cough and cold that is affecting patients of all ages. Colds typically tend to last longer in small children,
especially under the age of 5 and may be accompanied by fever. Medical specialists have warned against
self-medication pointing out that not all expectorants and cough syrups are suitable for all patients. It is
important that medicines be prescribed as per the symptoms and health condition of a patient. Only a
qualified doctor can enable this. Other than medical treatment, home care techniques like taking steam,
gargling with warm saline water, hot drinks, honey, ginger, menthol, use of a neti pot, and keeping oneself
hydrated with water at room temperature are helpful.