‘Dust a bigger threat than heat for asthmatics’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Dust a bigger threat than heat for asthmatics’

The death of 18-year-old Akkriti Bhatia, student of Modern School in Vasant Vihar — probably because of cardio-respiratory arrest — may have baffled many, but experts in respiratory medicine are not shocked.

delhi Updated: Apr 22, 2009 01:30 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla

The death of 18-year-old Akkriti Bhatia, student of Modern School in Vasant Vihar — probably because of cardio-respiratory arrest — may have baffled many, but experts in respiratory medicine are not shocked.

According to World Health Organisation data (2008), almost one-third of the asthmatic patients have attacks during the changing season, and a small percentage of these can prove fatal.

The visits of patients complaining of breathing difficulty at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have increased significantly in the past two weeks.

“We are seeing an increase of at least 10 –15 per cent in allergic rhinitis — runny nose and asthma cases. This is definitely because of the change of weather, dust and windy condition. In the last 2-3 weeks, medication requirement among asthmatic patients has also gone up significantly,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, professor of Medicine at AIIMS.

“In fact a lot people who are stable are also at a greater risk of getting an attack,” he said.

Even In Delhi government’s Lok Nayak Hospital, cases of patients complaining of respiratory infections and problem in breathing have doubled. The kind of dry weather that Delhi is witnessing — dust storms that carry allergens and pollen and dry weather — makes the patients especially susceptible to naso-bronchial hyper reactivity. Those who have known cases of asthma can have acute attacks,” said Dr NP Singh, head of medicine and senior pulmonologist at Maulana Azad Medical College.

“Attacks occur more frequently in the hot and dry weather,” he said.

“Heat as such is not a cause of asthma. Sudden change in temperature certainly creates problems, especially for those already suffering from asthma,” said Dr Guleria.

“All people suffering from respiratory disorders should avoid exposing themselves to sudden change in temperature — like stepping out from an air-conditioned car into the hot sunny atmosphere. Similarly, dust and fumes should be avoided,” he said.