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Delhi Pollution: 51% College Students Experience Respiratory Problems; Expert Advice

Recent surveys reveal that air pollution in Delhi has come to a point where it has started affecting the respiratory tract of youngsters.

Delhi Pollution: 51% College Students Experience Respiratory Problems; Expert Advice

Air pollution is affecting respiratory tract of youngsters

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Delhis air quality has been on the decline since the past few weeks
  2. 51% of the students felt that symptoms have worsened due to pollution
  3. 42% of the students showed symptoms of lung impairment

Delhi's air quality has been on the decline since the past few weeks. Recent surveys reveal that the quality of air has declined to an extent where it has started affecting the respiratory system of youngsters. This survey was conducted in five colleges of Delhi University in Rohini, Greater Noida and Dwarka area from the 6th of November till 11th November. It was conducted by the Fortis Hospital in Shalimar Bagh and stated that 51% of the students felt that symptoms have worsened in them due to the pollution.

The study had 1044 students enrolled in it with 72% male participants and the rest were female participants. It was found that 53% people involved in the study experienced cough, breathlessness, sputum and chest tightness, which are all visible symptoms of respiratory disorders.

Also read: Beating Air Pollution With The Right Mask: 10 Things To Know

Dr Vikas Maurya, a senior consultant and head of department of respiratory medicine and interventional pulmonology at Fortis hospital, Shalimar Bagh explained that they included youth in this study so that they are aware of how the pollution is ruining their health and hampering their growth.

Dr Maurya said, "The number of youngsters in our country are at a growing stage and the elderly however are at a destructive stage. So youth is more prone to the pollution changes. Youngsters need to protect themselves against all these risks as there is a chance that they may get affected asthma attacks and allergic reactions."


For mums-to-be, he said, "Pregnant women also need to protect themselves against these risks. Due to the fact that even they inhale pollution, the fetus is at risk. This polluted air can affect the growth of the child and also affect the brain of this developing baby. Hence, there is a great need to protect them against these risks."

Students picked for this study aged from 18 to 24 years. They were all required to fill up a questionnaire answering questions related to the pollution, allergies and respiratory symptoms.

It was found that 52% of the students involved were allergic to dust and smoke and 42% of the students showed symptoms of lung impairment and 11% were already using inhalers.

Also read: 5 Signs That Your Lungs Are In Trouble

A number of monitoring stations in town have recorded pollution levels; they have already surpassed the 500 mark. Where the safe limit is 60, pollution levels in Delhi have already gone beyond the permissible standards. Across the city, hospitals are already swamped with patients complaining of cough, fever, throat infections and other respiratory ailments. Private hospitals have witnessed a 20% rise in the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases. 

Dr. Vikas gives his word on how you can protect yourself against the increasing pollution around us:

1. Avoid going out, especially, allergic kids must avoid going outside and playing in the pollution and dust.
2. You can improve your immunity by eating healthy and nutritious foods, omega 3 fatty acids are a must for strengthening immunity. 
3. Avoid smoking indoors.
4. Keep air purifiers in your homes.
5. Drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated at all times. 
6. Your furniture, wooden furniture to be specific, printers and carpets release toxic gases and dust. You certainly cannot get rid of them but, you can use air purifiers to do the trick. However, for those who cannot afford air purifiers, plans like aloe vera, ivy plant, snake plant, etc, can be kept inside as they have air purifying properties. 
7. You can make use of masks for keeping yourself safe from pollution. Doctor recommends N95 and N99 masks for keeping 99% of the pollutants away. Also, he suggests that you must not play or engage in heavy physical activities with the mask on as it blocks proper air supply. 

(Dr Vikas Maurya is the Senior Consultant of respiratory medicine and pulmonology & Head of Department at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh)



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