The leading pulmonologist in the nation told that the ongoing barrage of pollution has caused healthy people’s airways to resemble those of asthma sufferers.
The former director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), in New Delhi, Dr. Randeep Guleria, says that it is imperative to discover a solution that will continuously safeguard the health of children and young adults, a demographic that is rapidly growing in percentage among patients experiencing respiratory distress.
Delhi residents have been subjected to dangerous and oppressive pollution for the last week, with the Air Quality Index (AQI) surpassing 500 and circling the “severe” and “severe-plus” classifications. Unseasonal rain on Friday improved sight and air quality, giving the city a reprieve.
The AQI is inadequate or unacceptable on over 60% of the days in the year. The terrible quality of the air is not limited to these few days or months. However, little is being done to identify a workable solution, according to Guleria. “This air will cause both chronic long-term illnesses and immediate acute effects in us.”
The Institute of Internal Medicine & Respiratory and Sleep Medicine’s chairman, Guleria, told that he has seen an increase in the number of healthy individuals complaining of persistent coughing and pressure in the chest. The airways of a healthy person now resemble those of an asthmatic due to continuous exposure to pollution.
He said that the fact that similar symptoms are being reported in “much younger” age groups is the most worrisome element. “Young people who moved to Delhi-NCR for work or students who have never had a history of respiratory illness are having trouble breathing at night, have a persistent cough, etc.”
For those who already have respiratory problems, symptoms have become worse. “People with long-term respiratory problems are presenting to the hospital complaining of dyspnea, low oxygen saturation, and nebulization requirements. Some need to be admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), while others are being treated in emergency rooms.
According to him, an increasing amount of evidence indicates that high AQI of this kind raises the risk factors for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. “Research has also demonstrated that blood vessel inflammation is caused by PM 2.5.”
Although there isn’t enough evidence to verify that air purifiers work, Guleria said, “some data proves that it can be used under certain conditions.”
In a similar vein, he said that “especially by those who are already facing symptoms, wearing masks during’severe’ and worse levels of AQI may not provide protection but can be done.”
IMMEDIATE NEED FOR BOLD ACTIONS
CNG was first offered as a remedy in the late 1990s when reports of suffocation and eye discomfort began to surface. The situation had improved for a while. We need more extensive and long-lasting measures of a similar kind.
Guleria continued, saying that legislators must quickly establish a sound implementation plan in addition to working to reduce the cause of air pollution.