Millennium Post

Increase in number of people suffering from respiratory ailments

With the level of pollutants and particulate matter in the air going up, hospitals in the city have witnessed a spurt in the number of people suffering from respiratory ailments, asthma and bronchitis.

The condition of patients already suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) worsens during this time of the year as pollution levels are high because of fog and smog, said Dr J C Suri, professor and head of pulmonary medicine at Safdarjang Hospital.

“There is an increase in the number of patients with complaints of respiratory ailments such as cough, cold, sore throat and chest congestion. Also, when the pollution levels rise, patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) become more sick and their condition worsens. We usually tell such patients to avoid going out during the dawn and dusk hours when pollution levels are at their peak,” said Dr Suri.

According to an expert from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE),  there has been a “seven-fold increase” in Delhi’s air pollution level since October. Even real-time exposure readings of nearly all monitoring stations put PM 2.5 and PM 10 figures above the ‘severe’ threshold.

According to a senior doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the tiny PM 2.5 particles travel deep into the lungs and get trapped there, causing thickening and swelling of the windpipe and in turn aggravate lung function and cardiac conditions.  “While immediate affects are cough, throat infection and pneumonia, in the long run it may lead to lung cancers,” said the 
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