Health experts on Wednesday said there had been at least a 30% increase in the number of respiratory patients this New Year. Some are even being admitted to the ICU due to low blood oxygen and respiratory distress from excessive pollution exposure.
For people suffering from old respiratory illnesses, this winter has been super harmful amid a steep rise in air pollution. The AQI worsening since Diwali has deteriorated further as we entered the new year.
"There has been a significant increase in the number of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, chest infections, Pneumonia, asthma and COPD exacerbation, both in OPD and also needing hospital admission," Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, told IANS.
People come to hospitals with coughs, breathing difficulty, chest pain and blood in sputum.
"There is at least a 30% increase in respiratory patients. Most patients are suffering due to viral and atypical infections. We have not detected any new cases of COVID-19. This surge is because of the winter season and excessive pollution," Dr Goel added.
Patients with respiratory symptoms are vulnerable to a steep rise in air pollution, and sometimes, it may require hospitalisation or an aggressive course of medication.
"Also, sometimes patients may require ICU and very intensive support as we are now witnessing AQI levels at 400, which is severe," said Dr Mayank Saxena, Senior Consultant and Unit Head of Pulmonology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali.
Respiratory illnesses increase during the winter due to air pollutants settling in the atmosphere.
"Also, respiratory infections increase with viruses and bacteria in the environment," said Dr Ravindra Gupta, Head of Department, Internal Medicine, C K Birla Hospital, Gurgaon.
Bad air quality days continue to haunt the Indo-Gangetic Plains, with the air quality Index (AQI) oscillating between the 'poor' and 'severe' categories.
However, weather conditions in the form of rain would bring some immediate relief, but with increasing climate change, these systems have also become inconsistent.
According to meteorologists, there has been an absolute absence of winter rain across the plains. In the wake of this, a stable wind pattern can be seen over the region, and wind speed is also very slow.
The above article has been published from a wire source with minimal modifications to the headline and text.