Asthma cases rising due to global warming

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 29 April 2018

- According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), asthma prevalence in children is increasing worldwide. Across the globe, 11 to 14 per cent of children aged 5 years and older currently report asthma symptoms.
- Many of these symptoms are related to indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand tobacco smoke, pollens and indoor mould and dampness, stated WHO.

PUNE: Global warming and growing pollution is a leading cause of rising asthma cases across the globe. Paediatricians from the city also noted that in last 20 years, the cases of asthma have doubled. Paediatricians voiced their concern on the remarkable increase in the number of patients on Friday to mark the World Asthma Day which is observed worldwide on May 1.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Barnali Bhattacharya, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Asthma from Pune, said that due to global warming, the flowering season gets extended. “As the season extends, the pollen are dispersed. Due to pollution, the diesel emission sticks on the pollen which is one of the most important reasons for asthma. It has been noted that these pollens are 200 times more allergic,” said Bhattacharya.

She further noted that in last 20 years, the asthma cases have increased two times. “There has also been a rise in construction sites and cement is used everywhere. Many households use mosquito coils at home which also makes the environment allergic,” said Bhattacharya.

Dr Neeta Hanumante, who worked with the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC), also noted that earlier only 10 per cent children used to be affected.

“Due to the climatic changes, now, we see that around 30 to 35 per cent children are affected. One in every three children has asthma which makes the number huge. And increase in pollution is the leading factor,” said Hanumante.

Dr Bhattacharya also added that many parents at first deny that their children have asthma. “This leads to delay in treatment. The parents have to recognise that asthma does not make the child handicapped. If the child gets the right treatment, he can lead a normal life just like other children,” said Bhattacharya.

Talking about the awareness among medical professionals, Dr Sanjay Lalwani, President of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics, Pune chapter, said that there is more need of awareness among general physicians too. “Paediatricians cater to only 10 per cent of the patients while 90 per cent patients visit general physicians as they grow older. Actually, they should be given a better quality of life by giving them an inhaler as it is a better way of treatment,” said Lalwani.

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