Docs have hands full as city gasps for air

‘Healthy’ Peo­ple Fac­ing Res­pi­ra­tory Is­sues Too

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY -

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.

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