Delhi Pollution: Is it time for Delhiites to start wearing a mask?

Unless you're already suffering from respiratory diseases, then you can hold off for a while.

Written by Soumya Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: November 3, 2016 9:06 pm
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People in Delhi are stepping out with caution now, thanks to the recent Diwali celebrations-aggravated air pollution. This year, the air and noise pollution has become severe, with the PM (Particulate Matter) 10 levels having gone reportedly up to 999, exceeding the safe limit by 10 times.

With the dip in the temperatures and change in the climatic conditions, the noise and air pollution that our reckless cracker-bursting during Diwali caused are having prolonged and grave consequences. So much so, you can actually see the pollution in the air.

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But is it time to start wearing a mask? Should we be on high alert? What are the health conditions that arise as a result of exposure to such severe changes in the atmosphere?

Talking to indianexpress.com, Dr Manoj Kumar Goel, Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Department at Fortis Healthcare, Gurgaon, tells us that it’s not time to start wearing a face mask yet.  For people who aren’t patients of respiratory diseases, it is not necessary to use a face mask. But those who have been dealing with asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, wheezing, chest congestion, etc., must consult their doctors and start wearing masks to avoid an aggravation in their medical conditions. N95 pollution masks are recommended for those suffering from lung diseases, sinus, bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

According to Dr Goel, the smoke after bursting crackers coupled with the dip in the temperature is the reason why the atmosphere has become hazy. “Since there is no wind during this time of the year, it will take longer for the smog to subside and the atmosphere to clear up,” he said.

The people who are already patients of respiratory problems must take utmost care and should start preventive therapy, for instance, increasing the use of medical inhalers. During the course of change in weather conditions, people are more susceptible to falling ill, and getting a fever and cold during this time is very common. Hence, other important precautionary measure that can be taken at this time is to get trivalent vaccines.

People suffering from cardiovascular diseases, high diabetes, renal ailments, lungs and liver conditions, are advised that they also get pneumonia vaccines.

The common symptoms that are seen in a person affected, are increased and prolonged cough, expectoration, high fever, chest pain, chest congestion, yellow phlegm-formation, headache, etc, says Dr Goel. In such cases, it is important to consult a doctor and avail suitable treatment.