Diwali aftermath: AQI in Ludhiana worsens, number of patients with cough, irritation in eyes rise
As air quality turned ‘very poor’ in the city due to bursting of crackers after Diwali, the number of patients suffering from cough, irritation in eyes, runny nose and difficulty in breathing has increased.
The air quality index (AQI) of the city was recorded at 338 (very poor) during Monday midnight and Tuesday, 289 (poor) at 5am on Tuesday, 254 at 10am, 246 at 2pm and the index again increased to 261 at 5pm.
According to medical experts, the number of patients increased by 25% at their respective hospitals on Tuesday.
Dr Akashdeep Singh, professor, department of respiratory medicine, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), said, “The average number of patients with respiratory problems increased from 50 patients a day to 75.”
He said, “The residents, especially kids (less than 5) and elderly (above 60), are mainly affected from the worsening air quality. Most patients are coming with problems of cough, breathlessness, runny nose and whistling sound in chest.”
Dr Manish Munjal, ENT specialist, DMCH, said, “Five patients reported with hearing loss and eight with nasal blockage, chest congestion and runny nose on Tuesday. But the number is likely to increase if air quality does not improve.”
He said, “Both stubble burning and bursting of crackers affect the health of humans. Before Diwali, residents, mainly residing in the peripheries of city, were coming up with problems of irritation in eyes, choking attacks, watering of nose and cough. After Diwali, the situation worsened on Tuesday with people from every part of the city suffering from these problems.”
“There is need to take precautionary measures. One should cover the nose and mouth with mask or a handkerchief, wear spectacles (with zero number lens) and prefer steam inhalation therapy,” he said, while adding that those, who have hissing, buzzing, whistling or crackling sound in the ear, should get themselves checked.
He added, “A 68-year-old elderly woman, Sunita, a resident of Haibowal Kalan, who was suffering from a breathing problem, was not able to even speak. Similarly, another patient, Gaurav Arora of Civil City, was having redness in eyes along with sneezing, that occurred on Monday morning.
Problems of dry skin and itching
Skin specialist Dr Sukhjot Kaur said, “As weather is changing, skin problems trouble patients.Patients develop dry skin, itching and scaling over the skin.”
“A person, suffering from these problems, can apply coconut oil on th skin and use mild soap during bath,” she said, and added, “In children, excessive dry skin can cause relapse/worsening of underlying atopic dermatitis. Proper and early recognition of this condition is helpful for children.”
She added another infection was scabies. “When a family member suffers from itching, he should consult a specialist immediately.”
The following steps can be helpful in saving people from allergies due to air pollution
- Avoid burning stubble, bursting crackers and grow more trees
- Avoid going to dusty or smoky areas
- Cover nose and mouth with N-95 mask. A disposable N095 mask (respirator) is a safety device that covers the nose and mouth and helps protect the wearer from breathing in some hazardous substances. However, it is costlier and every person cannot afford it. So, people can even cover the face with handkerchief.
- Cover eyes using spectacles (use zero number lens)
- For skin care, avoid sharing of towels and soap, Dry all towels and clothes in the sun. In case of dryness of face, avoid application of steroid cream on face. It is better to apply a gentle moisturiser and seek medical care.