THIS winter’s extremes of weather have led to a major rise in people being hospitalised due to respiratory problems. The fluctuating temperatures are as much to blame as the general cold weather with very cold spells being followed by swift temperature rises, prompting problems in the most susceptible people. The Pneumology Department of San Juan Hospital in Alicante, for example, has seen a 15% rise in patient admissions compared to the same period last year. Recent weeks have been no exception with high temperatures in early March predicted to be followed by much cooler damper weather which is expected to cause another spike in sickness across the region. On the positive side the number of flu cases has continued to fall and the season’s epidemic is now officially over with the rate standing at 42 cases per 100,000 citizens across the Valencian Community according to the latest figures.