0-6 Year Olds Are Being Hospitalised, Thanks to Air Pollution

Over the past two-and-a-half weeks, children have increasingly been admitted to hospitals for respiratory issues, say doctors.

This even as Delhi continues to gasp with ‘hazardous’ air days after Diwali.

According to the OPD department of Cloud Nine Hospitals Noida, children between the ages of 0-6 years are reporting respiratory tract infections - which are mainly viral in nature.

However, some of the respiratory complaints have even been severe - as they are associated with acute bronchiolitis – a fast breathing mechanism with cough, cold and restlessness along with air-hunger.

The hospital says it is observing 60 to 70 % cases of Upper Respiratory tract infections needing just supportive treatment between the age group of 1 to 3 years. In the same age-group, about 20 to 30 percent of the cases are of children with complaints of wheezing (will need some bronchodilatation) while 2 to 5 % are of asthma aggravation ( may need Hospitalization).

Meanwhile senior consultant of pediatric pulmonology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Dr. Neetu Talwar concurs that the number of children being admitted to hospitals over respiratory-related complaints has increased.

Also Read: Pollution Has Long Term Effect On Unborn Babies And Pregnant Women

Dr Neetu Talwar, Senior consultant of pediatric pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute to FITThere has been an increase in the number of children coming in with respiratory illnesses, asthma, allergies and related problems in the last two to two-and-a-half weeks.

Dr. Talwar attributes this to pollution, besides other reasons.

Dr Neetu Talwar, Senior consultant of pediatric pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute to FITPollution levels have risen in the same time frame, and though it is better than last year it is still bad. Besides, this is a tough time because it is pollen season, there is a change in the weather, there’s increased smog and so there are many triggers for respiratory problems.

Also Read: NASA Images Show Rising Air Pollution in Delhi Post Diwali  

Not Just Kids, Adults Too

It's not just the children though. A report by ANI says patients complaining of respiratory ailments have increased by approximately 30 percent in hospital OPDs.

Prof (Dr) G C Khilnani, Chairman of Pulmonary department at PSRI Hospital to ANIWe are seeing an upsurge of more than 30 percent patients in the OPD. Elderly patients, children, pregnant mothers and those who suffer from pre-existing diseases are more vulnerable to catch the infectionDr Vikas Maurya, Head of Respiratory department, Fortis hospital to ANIPost Diwali, the situation has worsened. Nearly 30 per cent of patients have increased in the OPD complaining of chest disorder, sneezing, viral infection and cough. It is going to get worse in the coming days.

Dr. Maurya warns that in the coming days, the trend will only shoot up, as in cases of severe pollution, even normal people without any respiratory issues complain of chest congestion.

Precautions to Take

Dr. Shishir Bhatnagar, Consultant – Pediatrics and Neonatology, CloudNine Group of Hospitals, Noida advises the following precautions to take, especially for parents whose children are complaining of respiratory troubles.

  • Breastfeeding should be encouraged in all children Less than 6 months
  • Nutrition should be taken care of – Some nutritious food, fluids and supportive therapy will help
  • Reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly outdoors, and particularly if they experience symptoms
  • Use of Air purifier is recommended in special situations

Symptoms to Watch Out For In Children

Dr. Bhatnagar also advises parents to watch for the following symptoms which may be indicative of serious respiratory problems in children:

  1. Recurrent night time/early morning cough which does not go easily
  2. Cough appearing with season changes with mild to moderate running nose
  3. Chest tightness repeatedly informed by the child.
  4. Difficulty in breathing especially during exertion.
  5. Clear watery discharge from nose, recurrent massive sneezing , excessive snoring
  6. Low grade fever with cough persisting for more than 2 weeks

(With inputs from ANI)

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