Health experts on Wednesday said there has been at least a 30 per cent increase in the number of respiratory patients this New Year, as some are even being admitted to the ICU because of low oxygen in blood and respiratory distress due to excessive pollution.
For people suffering from old respiratory illnesses, this winter has been super harmful amid a steep rise in air pollution and the Air Quality Index only going worse after Diwali, further deteriorating as we enter New Year.
"There has been a significant increase in number of respiratory diseases like bronchitis, chest infections, Pneumonia, asthma and COPD exacerbation, both in OPD and also needing hospital admission," Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, told IANS.
People are coming with cough, breathing difficulty, chest pain and blood in sputum to hospitals.
"There is at least a 30 per cent increase in the number of respiratory patients. Mostly patients are suffering due to viral and atypical infections. We have not detected any new cases of COVID-19. This surge is because of the winter season and excessive pollution," Dr Goel added.
Patients with respiratory symptoms are very prone to a steep rise in air pollution and sometimes, it may require hospitalisation or an aggressive course of medication.
"Also sometimes patients may require ICU and very intensive support as we are now witnessing AQI levels at 400 which is severe," said Dr Mayank Saxena, Senior Consultant and Unit Head Pulmonology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Vaishali.
Respiratory illnesses increase during the winter season due to air pollutants settling down in the atmosphere.
"Also, respiratory infections increase with viruses and bacteria in the environment," said Dr. Ravindra Gupta Head of Department, Internal Medicine, C K Birla Hospital, Gurgaon.
Bad air quality days continue to haunt the Indo-Gangetic Plains with the air quality Index (AQI) oscillating between 'poor' and 'severe' categories.
However, weather conditions in the form of rain would bring some immediate relief but with increasing climate change these systems have also become inconsistent.
According to meteorologists, there has been an absolute absence of winter rain across the plains. In the wake of this, a stable wind pattern can be seen over the region and speed is also very slow.