Blame heaters for rise in ENT ailments
Ashish Roy (name changed), a Class 12 student, spent hours studying for the board exams despite the cold wave that swept Gurgaon. Thanks to the room heater that kept him warm. Himabindu Reddy reports.gurgaon Updated: Jan 19, 2013 00:59 IST
Ashish Roy (name changed), a Class 12 student, spent hours studying for the board exams despite the cold wave that swept Gurgaon. Thanks to the room heater that kept him warm.
However, little did he know what was in store.
Roy walked into Artemis Health Sciences last week with severe nasal bleeding.
Doctors of the healthcare hub attributed his medical condition to excessive use of room heaters. Three out of 10 patients with complaints of nasal crusting, sore throat and cough land in the hospital due to irresponsible use of heating devices.
According to ear-nose-throat (ENT) consultant Dr Rajesh Bharadwaj, heaters and blowers, if used continuously, cause difficulty in breathing as they suck out the moisture in the air.
"The nose is soft and delicate, thereby making it prone to scaling. We call it nasal crusting," he said.
Moreover, in extreme winters, people tend to drink less water. This leads to a dry throat, resulting in soreness. "The best way to deal with this is to regularly gargle with salt water. This helps retain moisture in the throat," Bharadwaj added.
Artificial control of room temperatures also causes irritation in the eyes. Children aged between six years and 15 years are the worst-affected. "Children should not be exposed to them very often. Dryness also leads to recurring infections due to skin ruptures and bleeding," said Dr Ravinder Gera, a renowned ENT surgeon in Gurgaon.
But since heating devices are indispensable during winters, doctors suggest some simple steps to use the devices carefully. "It is advisable to use oil humidifiers as they don't dry up the air. If not, place a plate or bowl full of water in front of the heater. As the water evaporates, it will restore humidity in the air," said Bharadwaj.
Doctors also give thumbs up to the much safer electric blankets that are now available in the market at approximately Rs 3,000 for two.