Pollution is the biggest healthcare challenge in urban areas today. In the backdrop of World Lung Cancer Awareness Month, let us highlight the connection between declining levels of air quality and its impact on our lungs. in this regard, “Rising levels of pollution have become a public health concern and have led to an increase in individuals experiencing cough and cold,” said Dr Salil Bendre, head of the department of chest medicine at Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital.
“The trend is similar across age demographics, with significant vulnerability seen in asthma patients. Clinically, it has been observed that an average of 30 to 35 patients per day suffer from persistent cough, a symptom that persists even after antibiotic treatment. persists. Particularly among smokers, worsening air conditions aggravate respiratory illnesses. About 5% of these individuals require hospitalization, although they remain in stable condition,” he said. .
Causes and effects of air pollution:
Dr. Ravi Dosi, consultant in pulmonary medicine at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore, said, “Air quality is a topic that we are all very concerned about currently, due to the increasing amount of pollutants and pollution related chemicals in the atmosphere. Common chemicals are nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and particulate matter. These harmful substances cause inflammation. Air pollution not only creates new problems and new diseases, but it also makes pre-existing diseases worse and causes a person to use higher doses of medication than he or she would normally need, leading to There are many side effects associated with the drug.”
“Air pollution is generally a man-made issue and should be kept under control as it has harmful effects on the brain, heart, lungs and pancreas, it also affects the reproductive system, alimentary system and cardiovascular system, growing children and even That causes problems on babies also. And mothers too are not untouched by air pollution and it can cause serious problems in them. Fine particles cause difficulty in breathing, wheezing, chest pain, fatigue while ground level But ozone causes serious problems like difficulty breathing, sore throat, wheezing, cough and even difficulty breathing,” he added.
Consequences of poor air quality:
Dr. Lancelot Pinto, consultant respirologist at PD Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Centre, said, “The serious consequences of poor air quality are equally worrying. All body surfaces exposed to such air can be triggered. These include rhinitis/sinusitis (inflammation of the nose and nasal sinuses), allergic/irritant conjunctivitis, bronchitis (inflammation of the air passages of the lungs), and skin diseases. Ultrafine particles reaching the bloodstream have been linked to heart problems (increased heart rate, blood pressure, heart strain) and susceptibility to infection. “Individuals with pre-existing respiratory and/or cardiovascular diseases should be especially cautious about going out when air quality levels are poor.”
Preventive measures in current scenario:
In response to the current environmental health crisis, preventive health measures have become important. Dr. Salil Bendre made the following suggestions:
- It is strongly recommended that individuals, especially those suffering from asthma, adopt the practice of wearing masks during outdoor activities and ensure that they carry their inhalers with them at all times.
- Additionally, specific demographic groups including smokers, diabetics, the elderly and those suffering from asthma or allergies are urged to get vaccinated to strengthen their protection against the health risks posed by rising pollution levels.
- Such interventions are important to protect respiratory health in the face of increasing air quality challenges.