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'Air pollution is triggering a health crisis in Delhi'

Air pollution is triggering a health crisis in Delhi

New Delhi: Cases of breathlessness, asthma and allergy have sharply risen in Delhi as the city remains blanketed with the toxic air due to the rise in pollution and smog. Doctors in the national Capital have advised residents to avoid stepping out or indulging in outdoor activities during the early morning and evening hours in view of "severe" levels of air pollution in the city.

Doctors from AIIMS and experts say that besides spike in fresh cases, health complications have aggravated in people having a history of asthma, allergy or other related ailments. Earlier 15-20 percent pollution-related ailment cases were reported in our hospital. But now it has gone up to 30 percent, doctor added. "The most common problem is related to respiration. But this time we are seeing a rather large number of cases of severe breathlessness, coughing and sneezing and bronchiolitis due to the smog," says Dr Naval Vikram, professor at AIIMS. Bronchiolitis is inflammation of the bronchioles, the smallest air passages of the lungs.

"Children and elderly are the most vulnerable to infections and allergies due to smog and pollution. So, they should take extra care, and try not to venture during early morning and at dusk when the toxic level is highest," said Karan Madan, pulmonologist and spokesperson, AIIMS. He said that lungs of the elderly and children are less capable of handling such high pollutants and thus they develop breathing difficulty. "And, it is not just limited to lungs. It can also affect the cardio-vascular system and the brain," Dr Madan added.

"We are seeing 30-40% rise in ailment cases related to pollution. Breathlessness, asthma, eye and skin allergies case have jumped. We are getting patients as young as a three-month-old baby who had bronchiolitis," said Dr Abhay, ex-ENT surgeon at Safdarjung Hospital.

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