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Doctors’ prescription for Delhi’s hazardous dusty air is stay indoors, wear masks

Those suffering from respiratory disorders or related symptoms have been told to avoid popping antibiotics on a whim. These drugs should be taken only with a medical prescription.

delhi Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:15 IST
Anonna Dutt
Anonna Dutt
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi pollution,Delhi air quality,Delhi dust levels
A thick blanket of dust and haze obscures New Delhi’s skyline on Thursday. The sudden nosedive in Delhi’s air quality has seen a spike in the number of patients with respiratory complaints. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

Do you have a cough, cold, and a runny nose, or suffering from breathlessness? Blame it on the dust pollution. Doctors across Delhi reported an increase in the number of patients of respiratory ailments coming in with aggravated symptoms.

“The number of patients with existing respiratory conditions who come to the clinic with such symptoms has doubled in the last five days. In fact, some people not diagnosed with asthma also came in with symptoms,” said Dr Brig. Ashok Rajput, director, department of pulmonology, Fortis, Shalimar Bagh.

Dr SP Byotra, head of the department of medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, has seen a three-time rise in the number of patients coming in with dust allergies in the last couple of days.

Stay healthy in the haze
  • Avoid walking, jogging or exercising outdoors when the air is hazy
  • Stay indoors in air-conditioned rooms, use air purifiers if available
  • People with already diagnosed respiratory problems should use N95 masks when stepping out
  • While travelling in cars, roll up the windows
  • Avoid places with high-vehicular density
  • People with asthma or COPD must take their medicines regularly, even in summer

What should you do?

Stay indoors as much as possible.

“The best precaution is to stay away from the dust. People should stay indoors as much as possible. And, if they have air purifiers, they must use them. However, if they step out, they must use masks,” said Dr Rajput.

Doctors also suggest travelling in cars with windows rolled up.

“The people who go out for walks or exercise in the open should avoid it at all costs. Heavy breathing during exercise results in people inhaling more of the pollutants,” said Dr Rajput.

For people who have already been exposed to the dust and have congestion or runny nose, doctors advise antihistamine. “People can take an antihistamine or anti-allergic medicine if their symptoms are really bad. However, if the runny nose or the congestion does not go away in three to seven days, they should go to the doctor,” said Dr Byotra.

Another problem at this time is that people take antibiotics. “Even though most of the cough is allergic, people self-administer antibiotics. This should be avoided. Doctors have to see if there is fever and if the white blood cell count is elevated to determine if it is an infection and prescribe antibiotics,” said Dr Srikant Sharma, senior consulting physician at Moolchand hospital.

First Published: Jun 15, 2018 08:03 IST