20-25% increase in respiratory problems due to bad air in Delhi: Doctors | Delhi News

NEW DELHI: OPDs and teleconsultation units of city hospitals are flooded with complaints of breathing difficulty, chest congestion, watery eyes and other problems associated with air pollution. Doctors say increased pollution has led to nearly 20-25% increase in patients with respiratory health issues.
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“Our first suspicion is Covid-19. We test all of them for the infection and based on the results, medicines are prescribed,” Dr Vivek Nangia, principal director and head of Institute of Respiratory and Critical Care at Max Hospital, Saket, said. There is an acute shortage of beds in the hospital and, therefore, patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms are being managed via teleconsultation or at OPD, he added.

Dr Sandeep Nayar of BLK Super Specialty Hospital said air pollution was making symptoms worse for many Covid-recovered people. “The situation is serious and we are in the middle of a major health crisis. There aren’t enough beds available due to the increased rush of both Covid and non-Covid problems,” Dr Nayar, who heads the chest and respiratory diseases department, added. “Respiratory health issues, including exacerbation of pre-existing illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, are major complaints patients are reporting with.”
Doctors say even healthy, young people are facing difficulty in breathing. In a webinar organised by Assocham, India’s apex industry body, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said there was an urgent need to look for sustainable solutions to control air pollution.
Delhi, he added, is facing a double whammy of air pollution and Covid-19 as the virus can survive for longer duration when there is air pollution.
There is also data suggesting that mortality during air pollution continues to be high, he added. “Every year in our hospital, we have done a study where we have followed all our admissions in an emergency for two years and have found that whenever the air quality index worsened, there was an increase in admissions both in children and adults for respiratory diseases in the next five-six days. This is being shown for the last two to three years,” Dr Guleria said.

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