No dip in number of respiratory disease patients post Diwali

It has come as a shocker for city’s pulmonologists when they noticed that numbers patients with respiratory diseases have not gone down even after one month of Diwali which was a usual trend earlier. The impact of Delhi’s smog is quite evident in the city too.

“Every year, we see a dip in numbers of respiratory disease patients after Diwali. But, this year, the numbers of such cases have not gone down. The cases are constantly being reported till now,” said Dr Sheetu Singh, assistant professor, Institute of Respiratory Disease, SMS Medical College, Jaipur.

Dr Singh said, “In the air, when there is increased number of particulate matter along with gases such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, it increases chances of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma and pneumonia when exposed to such environment for a longer time. Such cases are being reported in increased numbers. Children and elderly are particularly susceptible. Air pollution during pregnancy leads to poor lung development in foetus and increased risk of these children having childhood asthma.”

More patients of dry hacking cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness along with recurrent sneezing, running nose are constantly being reported at Institute of Respiratory Disease, SMS Medical College, Jaipur. “This is because the sensitive mucosa of nose and respiratory mucosal insult is happening due to weather change or probably because of remnant effect of environmental smog which recently hit Delhi. This is affecting children and elderly persons more,” said Dr Narendra Khippal, professor, department of pulmonary medicine, SMS Medical College, Jaipur.

The doctors have noticed that severity of symptoms is more in patients with background of existing lung diseases specifically asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis. Patients who have stable COPD and asthma are badly affected, now doctors have increased the doses. Inhaled bronchodilator is the only option with chest physicians to give symptomatic relief to these patients.

Dr Khippal said air pollution not only affects your lungs but other organs also. When pollution mixes with fog, it becomes more dangerous because of stagnation of suspended particulate matter. Particle above 10 micron size are retained at nose but fine particles between 1to 6 micron are inhaled and cause damage to lungs.

Ultra-fine particles are absorbed and reach the heart, brain and kidney muscles.
Doctors advised that one should avoid going outdoor as far as possible. “The atmosphere is full of pollutants, pollens and toxic fumes. Avoid outdoor activity before sunrise and after sunset,” Dr Khippal said.
JK Lon Hospital is also witnessing the same trend. “We have found that the respiratory illnesses are tormenting the patients for a longer time. Earlier, children were getting relief in 4-5 days from medicine but now they take 8 to 10 days. We have also found there are recurrent episodes of respiratory diseases in patients,” said Dr Ashok Gupta, superintendent JK Lon Hospital.

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