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Delhi sees surge in number of people with eye, throat, respiratory issues

Delhi sees surge in number of people with eye, throat, respiratory issues
Besides creating respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, the deteriorating pollution level in the city is creating a slew of patients with watery eyes, itchy throat, doctors said here.

Engulfed in thick toxic smog, the air quality index (AQI) on Friday plummeted to the "severe plus" category in several parts of the national capital. The air turned a dense grey as the AQI hovered around 500 in several parts of Delhi-NCR, which is a staggering 100 times higher than the limit considered healthy by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Of late in the OPD we are seeing almost a 50 per cent increase in the number of patients who are coming with watery eyes. Some also experience burning, itching and irritation in their eyes," Dr Anita Sethi, Director & HOD ophthalmology, Fortis hospital Gurugram, told IANS.

"Due to pollution we are getting several cases on a daily basis. As of now, we have 28 beds occupied, with 14 of those being in the ICU, and 2 patients on ventilators. These patients have reported a series of discomforting symptoms, which include itchy throats, burning eyes, and exacerbated allergies, along with congested lungs, added Dr. Ambarish Joshi Senior Pulmonologist, Primus Super Specialty Hospital.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has revealed that pollution levels in Delhi in October reached their worst since 2020, indicating a critical situation that demands urgent attention. The agency also states that prolonged exposure to air pollution can cause children to suffer from respiratory diseases.

According to the doctors, the elderly, children and those with allergies are more vulnerable these days.

Dr Sethi said the dry air of winter and the pollution increases the dryness of the eyes and makes them more sensitive to the particulate matter which is there in the air, causing a lot of burning, irritation and watering in the eyes.

"Also, as this is a time of change of seasons so there is more pollen in the air. So those who are a little more prone to allergies are having a real increase in exacerbation of symptoms.

"People with pre existing allergies, contact lens wearers, some of the young professionals who have very long hours at the computer and anyway have a little bit of a dry eye syndrome," could have a tough time.

Doctors and authorities have urged Delhiites to take the necessary precautions, such as wearing masks and staying indoors whenever possible, to safeguard their health amidst this alarming pollution crisis.

"The increasing levels of particulate matter in the air are negatively impacting respiratory health, making it imperative for individuals to remain vigilant and take steps to reduce their exposure to dust and pollutants to safeguard their well-being," Dr. Joshi said.

"We urge everyone to wear masks when going outdoors and to avoid any strenuous exercise in open areas, especially those with COPD cases. Please venture outside only if it is absolutely necessary. Additionally, avoiding smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke is strongly advised, as it can exacerbate respiratory issues during times of compromised air quality," he noted.

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