Docs have hands full as city gasps for air
‘Healthy’ People Facing Respiratory Issues Too
New Delhi: The spike in pollution levels in the city over the last few days has left many people, especially those with preexisting respiratory problems, gasping for air. Many of them, doctors told TOI, had been calling them to ask for ways to deal with the situation.
“I have been getting four to five calls daily this week. Patients complain about difficulty breathing, sore throat and wheezing,” Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant, respiratory medicine at Apollo hospital, said. He added that many “healthy” people were also complaining about difficulty in breathing and chest tightness.
The most common advice doctors offer to such patients is to remain indoors when the air outside is dangerously pollu- ted. “Earlier, it was said that air pollution peaks in winter or on Diwali, but now it has become a year-long problem for Delhi. If urgent action is not taken to tackle the situation, we might have to leave the city to save life,” said Piyush Sharma, a resident of Malviya Nagar. His six-year-old daughter, Sharma said, had been down with sore throat and fever for two days.
Dr R K Singhal, principal consultant and director of internal medicine division at BLK Super Speciality hospital, said for people with respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even small increases in dust concentration could make their symptoms worse.
Dust particles small enough to be inhaled may cause irritation of the eyes, coughing, sneezing, hay fever and asthma attacks, he added.
Dr Vikramjeet Singh, senior consultant, Internal Medicine, Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, said to prevent the effects of dust pollution, it was recommended that people wore masks when going out.
The acute effects of high pollution are visible. But its chronic effects are invisible and more disastrous in the long term. It is known to affect lung growth in children, chronic bronchitis and increase incidence of heart diseases among others, say experts.