The rising level of pollution over the last few years has made people switch to self-medication, according to doctors in the city. As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 419, under the ‘severe’ category, at 4 pm Wednesday.
“People are opting for self-medication and that is troubling. Almost everyone has a nebuliser. Many people are using medicines out of last year’s prescription, which is wrong. People should not opt for self-medication… Easy availability of medicines and nebulisers is the reason behind the disturbing graph,” said Dr Arvind Kumar, chairman, chest surgery, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
Air quality in the capital post-Diwali this year has remained in the ‘very poor’ category. According to the National Air Quality Index maintained by the CPCB, among the areas with the worst Air Quality Index (AQI) at 11 am in Delhi was Anand Vihar, with an AQI of 362. Last year, the worst AQI recorded in the capital was 642. In 2017, the AQI was 367.
“The perceived reduction in levels is not the aim. Comparing the levels with the previous year is not the right way to measure the severity of the pollution levels. The pollution levels are still above the normal range. Many patients are coming in with severe symptoms of worsening asthma, sneezing, irritation in the throat, burning sensation in eyes, etc. The pollution is causing symptoms in both unhealthy and healthy people,” said Dr Karan Madan, associate professor, department of pulmonology, AIIMS.
“Most patients coming to us are young. This trend is worrisome as younger generation is expected to be the most productive lot of the society. There are observable trends that more people are developing asthma-like symptoms in the last few years,” added Dr Madan.
According to the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, contaminated water, air and soil are responsible for about nine million early deaths, which is about 16% of global deaths. About 92% of these early deaths due to environmental toxicity occur in the low- and middle-income countries, which include India.