Millennium Post

Patients with respiratory illness bear the brunt of smog invasion

NEW DELHI: As the city remains blanketed with haze hanging low over the city and plummeting visibility levels plummeting affect most means of transportation, cases of severe breathlessness, asthma and allergy have risen sharply in Delhi.
The harmful smog permeated living rooms and even underground Metro stations, making breathing difficult, turning eyes watery and giving burning sensation to residents.
Doctors and experts say that in addition to the spike in cases of respiratory problems, health complications have aggravated in people who have a history of asthma, allergy and/or other related ailments.
"We witnessed an increase in such patients in its OPDs and casualties over the past two days," Dr J C Suri, Head of Pulmonary Medicine at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, said.
Suri added that immediate effects include cough, throat infections and pneumonia. In the long term, results could be disastrous as one could also develop lung cancer.
"When pollution levels rise, the condition of those suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or asthma or heart disease worsens," he further said.
With Delhi facing it worst smog in last two decades, diseases like Bronchiolitis – an inflammation of the smallest air passages of the lungs – have been on the rise as well.
"It is like living in a gas chamber," said Dr Kuldeep Kumar of GTB Hospital.
Due to recent changes in weather, an approximate rise of 20 per cent has been seen in the number of patients coming to the respiratory OPD.
"In children and elderly, we have seen cases pertaining to breathing problems, cough, frequent colds, nasal allergies, eye and skin allergies," said Dr Prashant Saxena, Head and Principal Consultant of Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital.
"As far as possible, children should avoid venturing out in the open early in the morning and late in the evening," says Dr V K Paul, paediatrician at AIIMS.
Moreover, the Indian Medical Association said that the capital was witnessing a "public health emergency" and appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.
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