Spike in respiratory patients due to air pollution in Delhi

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Sunday, October 15, 2017
spike in respiratory patients due to air pollution in delhi
Pic: IANS

New Delhi: With the air quality of the national capital and adjoining cities consistently deteriorating, major city hospitals saw a spike in the patients complaining of respiratory issues.

According to the medical experts, most of the patients are being diagnosed with bronchitis and advance asthma.
 
 Experts however believe the volume of patients would be lesser than previous year, counting on factors including the apex court's ban on cracker sales in Delhi and attempts to control stubble burning in neighbouring states. 
 
 "Patients have started coming to the OPDs complaining chest pains, breathing issues, asthma complications and exertion. Cases of asthma complications have increased already," All India Institute of Medical Sciences' Director Randeep Guleria, who is a pulmonologist himself, told IANS.
 
 Experts also suggest cautions, suggesting use of air purifiers indoors if possible.    
 
 In 2016 after Diwali, the major pollutant PM2.5 or particles in air with diameter less than 2.5 mm, reached an all time high with its level crossing 600 against the permissible limit of 60. 
 
 According to the officials, Pulmonary OPD at AIIMS saw a 35 per cent hike after Diwali 2016, while Safdarjung Hospital saw 20-25 percent surge in the number of patients complaining of chest congestion, lung and respiratory issues.
 
 Dr A.K Rai, outgoing medical superintendent at Safdarjung Hospital, said the post-Diwali 2016 situation seems to be returning in the OPDs, while he expects the number of patients to go up in the coming days.
 
 "Patients have started complaining of chest pains and other respiratory issues. Basically this is related to the smog, as when the temperature will drop, the patients will certainly increase... however, we expect that the surge to be lesser than last year due to different measures being taken this year, which last years were discussed only after situation worsened," Rai told IANS.
 
 Air pollution intensified in the National Capital on Saturday, with the the average PM2.5 level in Delhi till 5.30 p.m. placed under 'very poor', according to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). 
 
 While the stubble burning goes unabated in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and even parts of Delhi, as per satellite images by NASA FIRMS Web Fire Mapper, and health advisories cautioning people against prolonged exertion, patients have already started flocking OPDs.
 
 "Last year after Diwali, we saw several cases of pneumonia... some patients died too," Arvind Kumar, Chairman, Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, and former Professor of Surgery at AIIMS, told IANS.
 
 With forecasts warning further worsening of situation over the period of next 4 hours, SAFAR had already cautioned those with lung issues, the very young or old and those with breathing problems to take precautions. 

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