Air quality dips, health complications rise

  • | Tuesday | 28th November, 2023

Lucknow: The consistent poor air quality in state capital for the past few days has started to show rippling effect on health of individuals with city hospitals witnessing a surge in patients with respiratory and eye-related problems. When TOI asked officials at King Georges Medical University (KGMU), SPM Civil Hospital, Lokbandhu and Balrampur Hospital they agreed about the surge and attributed it to rising pollution level.Prof Darshan Bajaj of pulmonary medicine department at KGMU said: We have observed a 25% rise in the frequency of upper respiratory infections across all age groups from the 50 cases recorded daily in October. He attributes the surge to the rise in PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter levels in atmosphere following a recent dip in temperature. He explained that these particles can penetrate deep into the lungs, triggering inflammation and disrupting respiratory function, potentially leading to chronic respiratory issues.Dr Ajay Tripathi, medical superintendent at Lokbandhu Hospital, noted an increase in respiratory infection patients from 40 to 70 per day, with throat infections reaching 10 to 20 per day and around 20 eye infection cases daily.In Balrampur, Dr Atul Mehrotra, chief medical superintendent (CMS), reported daily increase in respiratory infections from 100 to 150.Prof Siddharth Agrawal from KGMUs ophthalmology department noted an increase in conjunctivitis cases due to pollutionTill October, the number was barely two to three, now its ten. He advised protecting eyes with goggles and regular washing.Experts said precaution is must, especially for those with low immunity. ENT surgeon from Gomtinagar, Dr Rakesh Srivastava said pollutants, including particulate matter and irritant gases, are associated with increased cough and wheeze. Inhaling smog can lead to sore throat, cough, tiredness, eye and nose irritation, and wheezing due to toxins settling in the lungs and throat. So, everyone should avoid exposure to air pollution either by staying at home or wearing masks, he added. We also published the following articles recentlyHeres how air pollution contributes to respiratory diseasesAir pollution poses a significant threat to respiratory health, with pollutants like particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds causing damage to the respiratory system. Particulate matter can penetrate deep into the lungs, while gases like nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide irritate the airways. Ozone at ground level leads to airway inflammation, and carbon monoxide reduces oxygen-carrying capacity. Volatile organic compounds can cause irritation and are carcinogenic. Protecting respiratory health requires implementing pollution control policies and reducing air pollution through emission controls and cleaner energy sources.Exposure to pollution increases risk of throat, neck cancerExposure to air pollution, which contains harmful substances like particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2), increases the risk of throat and neck cancers. Studies show that exposure to PM2.5 is linked to a 14% increased risk of laryngeal cancer, while exposure to NOx is associated with a 20% increased risk of nasopharyngeal cancer. Air pollutants irritate the throat, leading to inflammation and DNA damage, which can result in the development of cancer. Common symptoms include persistent throat irritation, dry cough, and difficulty swallowing. Age, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase the risk. Prevention measures include using air pollution masks, indoor air purifiers, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and government action to reduce air pollution.WHO asks China for details on surge of respiratory illness in kidsThe WHO has formally requested detailed information from China regarding an increase in respiratory illnesses, particularly undiagnosed pneumonia in children. Chinese officials have attributed the illnesses to known pathogens such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and mycoplasma pneumoniae. However, some reports have described crowds of children with pneumonia without specifying the exact cause. Concerns about transparency from China have been raised due to past events, prompting the WHO to request information. The surge in respiratory illnesses is partly attributed to the lifting of Chinas strict coronavirus restrictions.

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Air quality dips, health complications rise
  • Tuesday | 28th November, 2023