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Post-Diwali: Respiratory, eye problems on the rise in Delhi

Post-Diwali: Respiratory, eye problems on the rise in Delhi
Highlights

With a sharp spike in air pollution following Diwali celebrations, hospitals across the National Capital Region have reported a rise in visits of...

New Delhi (IANS): With a sharp spike in air pollution following Diwali celebrations, hospitals across the National Capital Region have reported a rise in visits of patients, with most complaining about respiratory and eye problems.

Delhi's air quality index (AQI) sharply deteriorated on Wednesday afternoon, three days after Diwali due to lack of wind speed. "After Diwali, smog brings a lot of medical problems in Delhi, especially in kids. In our hospital, we have witnessed a rise in the number of people with respiratory and eye problems," Arvind Aggarwal, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute here told IANS.

"We have witnessed 20-22 percent increase in OPD visits, where the patients are facing symptoms associated with pollution like irritation in the eyes and throat, dry skin, skin allergy, chronic cough and breathlessness," Aggarwal said, adding that the asthmatic patients, elderly and kids should try to stay indoors. According to Navneet Sood, Pulmonology Consultant at Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital here, people should see a doctor in case they experience symptoms like redness in eyes, breathing problems, uneasiness, and frequent headaches.

"We have witnessed visits by 15-16 patients on a daily basis after Diwali. Three-fourth of the cases were related to the worsening of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Rest one-fourth of the cases were for bronchitis," Sood said. "The cases, on the first day after Diwali, were certainly less than the previous years, but they were up by 25 percent against a usual OPD," he said.

According to the "State of Global Air 2019" report, growing up in current high levels of air pollution may shorten the life of a South Asian child by two years and six months on average.

Air pollution is particularly harmful during pregnancy. A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has found that prenatal air pollution exposure linked to infants' decreased heart rate response to stress. Decreased heart rate variability, as observed in this study, is a known risk factor for mental and physical health problems in later life.

"After Diwali, we have got 10 patients who earlier had stable chronic respiratory disorder. They are complaining of sneezing, cold and cough," Arunesh Kumar, Head, Chest Institute & Pulmonologist, Paras Hospital, Gurugram, told IANS.

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