World Prematurity Day: Expert Advice To Protect Your Newborn From Air Pollution
On World Prematurity Day, we speak to Dr Vikas Maurya about how to save our preemies from the hazardous air pollution in the capital.
Smog can be extremely hazardous for preemies
- World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17
- Prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5
- 1 out of every 4 premature death in India can be attributed to pollution
Every year, November 17 is observed as World Prematurity Day, in order to raise awareness of preterm births, concerns of preterm babies and their families across the world. Premature birth is a birth that happens before the usual pregnancy duration, i.e. before 37 weeks of pregnancy and is one of the leading causes of neonatal mortality and morbidity in India. Preterm babies are more likely to be prone to health problems that sometimes last their entire lives. Many preterm babies face disabilities like learning disability, visual and hearing problems.
Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5. And for preemies in Delhi, increasing levels of pollution, particularly smog can be extremely hazardous.
According to a study released in October by The Lancet Medical Journal, 1 out of every 4 premature deaths in India (approximately 2.5 million) can be attributed to pollution. Following India is China, which has reported around 1.8 million premature deaths, or 1 in 5, because of problems related to pollution.
Also read: Beat The Ill Effects Of Air Pollution With Tips From Delhi's Top Nutritionist
Suggesting some preventive measures, Dr Vikas Maurya says, "Preemies or children who are allergic must avoid going out or doing physical activities in the open, especially in the severe quality of air in the present times. Also, preterm babies should have foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like chia seeds, walnuts, salmon, etc."
He goes on to add that preemies should avoid a sedentary lifestyle which includes smoking and drinking. Furthermore he suggests that children should keep themselves hydrated at all times.
"The air quality in Delhi is still under a severe category. So people who have premature babies must install air purifiers at home before it gets too late and their baby gets an unwanted illness from the hazardous smog," says Dr Vikas.
(Dr Vikas Maurya is the Senior Consultant of Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonology & Head of Department at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh)
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