Delhi

Brace for more ‘very poor’ air quality days, warn experts

Smog engulfed parts of the Capital on Thursday. Motorists seen on Ring Road in west Delhi.

Smog engulfed parts of the Capital on Thursday. Motorists seen on Ring Road in west Delhi.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

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Doctors advise people to avoid highly polluted areas in city as hospitals see a huge rush of patients with respiratory distress

Air quality in the Capital continued to remain in the ‘very poor’ category on Thursday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 331 at 1 p.m. Experts warned that the city could be in for more bad air days over the next few days.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) revealed that for the next two days the air quality will remain in the ‘very poor’ category.

Experts believe that the pollution level has exacerbated as farmers in the neighbouring States of Punjab and Haryana have started burning crop residue.

Meanwhile, city hospitals are seeing a huge rush of patients coming in with respiratory distress even as doctors are advising people to avoid going to highly polluted areas in the city.

Doctors and all major health organisation have warned about the relationship between poor air quality and pulmonary disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Arvind Kumar, founder and trustee of Lung Care Foundation and chairman of the Centre For Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said, “We need to educate the masses about air quality so that they are aware of the damage they are exposed to. Most people in Delhi, including many of my patients, are unaware of the bad air quality and only consider it an issue when the visibility gets bad. People need to take preventive measures to protect themselves and pro-active measures to reduce individual contribution to pollution.”

“Most people do not realise that breathing in low-quality air can cause a stroke. Stroke is a medical condition in which the brain cells die due to reduced supply of blood. A stroke can be caused by blockage or rupture of the blood vessels supplying the brain,” warned Gaurav Thukral of HealthCare at Home.

He explained that lack of awareness is a major cause of high disability-adjusted life year (DALYs) in India.

“In India, overall DALYs lost due to stroke are 795.57 per 1,00,000 person-years, which is very high. People are unaware of the linkage of stroke with air pollution and often do not take the necessary steps to avoid it,’’ he said. Doctors warn that even after stroke attacks, people underestimate the importance of rehabilitation, which can be the key to complete recovery and low DALYs. The patient who cannot go to hospitals for regular physiotherapy sessions, home healthcare is the solution for them.

Doctors said using a N95 mask while outdoors and using air purifiers at home is the solution for people living in cities with moderate to high pollution. Indoor plants that reduce pollution also come handy to breathe fresh air indoors.

Satkam Divya of KlinicApp, an e-diagnostic startup, said every year during Diwali while air contamination stifles the city, noise pollution too has been observed to be risky for kids and senior citizens.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 10:14:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/brace-for-more-very-poor-air-quality-days-warn-experts/article25327094.ece

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