Respiratory diseases on rise

Namrata Devikar
Monday, 10 December 2018

“This again happens due to the difference in temperature during day and night. Patients who are older suffer a lot. They should make amend their daily routine and try to stay indoors,” said Dr Abhyankar.

Pune: With the advent of winter, many patients tend to get frequent cough, cold and other respiratory diseases because of the polluted air in the city. According to doctors, infants and people with low immunity are at greater risk of contracting winter ailments with the toxic air in Pune causing allergies, bacterial, viral and fungal infections. 

Like every year, air quality in the city has started dipping with the advent of winter. 

The ambient level of air pollution is oscillating. At times, it exceeds the safety limits for the key air pollutants that pose health risks to people.

The problem has aggravated due to lack of breeze, allowing pollutants to remain static including emissions from motor vehicles and industrial pollution, as well as ongoing construction activities and road-side dust. According to the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), the wind speed and ventilation index are ‘extremely unfavourable’ for dispersion of pollutants.

Dr Arun Suradkar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune, said the major pollutants in the air are carbon monoxide, particulate matter, ground level ozone and oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide.

“Particulate matter is the main public health threat and the health impacts depend on the level of exposure and the duration of exposure, that is, short term between 8 and 24 hours or long term. Many people are reporting allergic reactions due to the changing temperature and poor air quality. With rising toxic air in Pune causing allergies, viral, bacterial and fungal infections, infants and pregnant women are at greater risk of contracting winter allergies,” said Dr Suradkar.

Talking about the increasing number of allergies, Dr Nitin Abhyankar, pulmonologist at Poona Hospital, said pollutants less than PM 2.5 are very dangerous.

“They are always present around us. Especially for people who go out for morning walk, these pollutants have a severe impact due to fog and winter cold. Such citizens should go for a morning walk after the sun is up,” said Dr Abhyankar.

He added that there has been an increase in post-viral cough, which lasts for four to eight weeks following a viral infection.

“This again happens due to the difference in temperature during day and night. Patients who are older suffer a lot. They should make amend their daily routine and try to stay indoors,” said Dr Abhyankar.

Precautions to be taken Clean all rooms thoroughly.

  • Dust frequently and vacuum after dusting because any dust not captured in the cloth will likely settle on the floors.
  • Avoid smoking as inhaling polluted air is equal to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. Smoke fumes add to air pollution.
  • Keep air-purifying plants like aloe vera and ivy inside the house.
  • Remain indoors as much as possible. Children, pregnant women and older people or those with pre-existing illness should avoid roads with heavy traffic. 
  • Modify your diet to include seasonal fruits and fresh vegetables such as carrots and green peas and reduce dairy intake.

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