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  Severe air quality to worsen health crisis: Experts

Severe air quality to worsen health crisis: Experts

Published : Nov 4, 2016, 1:45 am IST
Updated : Nov 4, 2016, 1:45 am IST

Even after four days of Diwali, the national capital’s air quality continued to be in “severe” category, with many residents complaining of respiratory problems and watery eyes.

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Even after four days of Diwali, the national capital’s air quality continued to be in “severe” category, with many residents complaining of respiratory problems and watery eyes.

Prolonged exposure to severe category air may affect healthy people and seriously impact those with existing diseases while very poor category may cause respiratory illness.

 

According to Indian Medical Association (IMA) president K.K. Aggarwal, air pollution can lead to symptoms like irritation in eyes, nose and throat; cough, phlegm, tightness in chest; and shortness of breath in healthy people. “Heart patients and those with respiratory disorders need to be extremely cautious about particle exposure as it can cause serious problems — including worsening of your disease — in a short period of time.”

Children, elderly and the sick are considered most vulnerable to the harmful effects of hazardous air. Their immunity is jeopardised, so are their life, as hazardous chemicals affect their immune system gravely.

 

“Alarming increase in air pollution attacks the respiratory system and can alter the immune system. Moreover, a higher level of carbon monoxide directly hits the cardiovascular system, particularly among children. Immune health can help in tackling all these problems,” said Dr Avneet Kaur, a senior consultant at Apollo Cradle Hospital’s neonatology department.

Doctors associate high levels of suspended particulate matter and sulphur dioxide with increased mortality, morbidity, and impaired pulmonary function.

“There are several reasons for kids to be easy victims of pollution and thereby have a lower immune health. Their lungs are growing and they have higher cell division, so pollutants find much more space in them. Compared to adults, they have low immunity and, therefore, are more susceptible to diseases,” said Dr Vivek Jain, additional director and head of neonatology department at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

 

The current air quality is going to impact those with respiratory problems, especially asthmatic patients, negatively. It also creates problems for those facing cardiac and nervous system problems. The long-term exposure to pollutants in the air increases chances of lung cancer and heart attack, warned health experts.

Pollutants can affect foetus growth, they warned pregnant women.

Gynaecologist and IVF specialist at Max Hospital, Dr Shweta Goswami, explained that constant exposure to high air pollution increases the risk of miscarriage and early labour in pregnant women and also result in low birth weight.

“Actually, foetal development is very sensitive to environmental factors, particularly high blood pressure, which is associated with increased morbidity and mortality causing a lot of problems for mother and the unborn child including pre term delivery. It will be good if a pregnant woman limits her outdoor activity, stays inside and stays hydrated during an inversion,” said Dr Goswami.

 

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi