Sunday, Apr 26, 2015

Harvest season adds to respiratory woes, say experts

A wheat-harvesting machine at work in Dharmgarh village, Mohali, on Saturday. (Jasbir Malhi) A wheat-harvesting machine at work in Dharmgarh village, Mohali, on Saturday. (Jasbir Malhi)
Written by Tanbir Dhaliwal | Chandigarh | Published on:April 27, 2014 2:51 am

The harvesting season has begun, and with it, the respiratory problems among farmers. The problems will further worsen in the coming weeks, when stubbles of wheat residue will be burnt in the fields.

Asthma, long-lasting lung infections and other respiratory problems are the results of the air pollution caused by the practice of burning crop residue in the months of April and May.

“The cases of asthma attack increase during this period. Daily, we come across four or five new cases of severe asthma attacks among children. Apart from the new cases, about 10 follow-ups are there,” Dr Arpinder Gill, Max Hospital, said.

He added, “In old cases, where we know that the patient’s condition will deteriorate, we increase the dose of medicine. From March 15 to April 30, these children will be on high dose.”

Similar is the situation in other hospitals. Dr Zafar Ahmed Iqbal, consultant, Pulmonology and Critical Care, Fortis Hospital, said, “Patients with signs of respiratory problems have increased since the beginning of harvesting season. In my OPD alone, the increase has been 2 or 3 patients more per day. They come with aggravated asthma and allergies that have worsened in the grain harvest season.”

“Usually, patients who ignore their symptoms due to lack of awareness or self-denial end up with worsened health. We advise the patients to keep a watch on symptoms, and in case they are not getting better even with escalated medication, they should get themselves checked at a better-equipped centre,” Dr Iqbal added.

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