Snehal Anand, 7, loves to run. But since last week, she has been unable to participate in her school's track events because she gets out of breath as soon as she starts running.
"She gets a bit breathless in the beginning of winters, but this time it is worse. Fortunately, she is responding well to medicines," said Dr Jasjit Singh Bhasin, head of paediatrics department, BLK Hospital.Ruhi Peter, 12, had to see an eye specialist as she would wake up every morning with sticky eyes, which would often burn.
"Hers was a typical case of allergic reaction due to cold and pollution. The smog usually is an aggravating factor. We see nearly double the cases of eye allergy this time of the year," said Dr Rishi Mohan, head of department, ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj.
Respiratory disorders and eye allergies are common among those with a history of asthma or bronchitis.
This gets aggravated due to change in weather and pollutants in the air. This year, however, doctors claim the numbers are higher as pollution levels seem to be higher.
For more than a week now, the city has been engulfed in a thick blanket of polluted air and hospitals are getting swamped with cases of breathlessness, congestion, headache, cough and irritation in eyes.
"It seems every fifth child suffers from a respiratory disorder these days," added Bhasin. For those with a history of asthma or bronchitis, inhalers have become a must-carry object these days.
Breathing smoggy air can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, chronic bronchitis, asthma and headache.
Common symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, difficulty in breathing, watery eyes, etc. It can also result in reduced lung function that may last for as long as a week.
Smog affects children and elderly more as their immunity level is lower.