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Polluted air makes diseases more intense: Doctors reveal

Polluted air makes diseases more intense: Doctors reveal|

NEW DELHI- Have you wondered that your cough and cold persist for more than two weeks? Or some other illness is getting more stubborn? Blame the air for it.

Doctors say the high pollution in Delhi is infuriating inflammation of the upper and the lower respiratory tracts, making viral infections and related disorders persistent and difficult to treat.

“Cough and respiratory distress due to viral infection usually subside within two weeks. But we are seeing patients, healthy adults included, suffer for over a month. They have to be put on anti-biotics and steroids,” said Dr Arup Basu, chest specialist at Sir Ganga Ram hospital.

Doctors report a spurt in such cases over the past three weeks, coinciding with the drop in the city’s air quality.

Dr Vivek Nangia, head of pulmonology at Fortis hospital, said he was getting 20-25% more patients with persisting symptoms. “Young adults suffer more because they are more exposed to pollutants. I get many patients who find it difficult to do their job or concentrate on studies in spite of taking medicines,” he added.

Rhinitis, pharyngitis and sinusitis are some of the common conditions affecting the upper respiratory tract during this season. Lower respiratory tract is afflicted in pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pollutants such as particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) affect the functioning of both airways.

“Normally, these infections subside on their own in a week or two. Antibiotics are prescribed to control secondary infection in persistent cases. Steroids are given in rare cases to relieve symptoms.

However, both have known side-effects. While the use of antibiotics for common illnesses like cold and flu predisposes a person to increased resistance to the drug, the steroids can cause side-effects such as weight gain, increase in sugar levels and lower immunity,” Dr Basu added.

Originally published in Times of India.

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