As air quality entered the ‘severe’ category on Monday, hospitals in the capital witnessed a busy day with people complaining of respiratory tract infections and asthmatic attacks queuing up outside the departments.
Private as well as government hospitals saw a substantial rise, around 20 per cent, in the number of patients complaining of respiratory issues. Cases of viral infection, cough, sneezing, respiratory tract infection and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have gone up in the last two days, doctors said.
“The number of patients has just doubled as compared to last week. It was an exceptional rise in the number of people who faced asthmatic attacks. The cases have increased in the last three days,” said Dr Karan Madaan, associate professor, department of pulmonary medicine, AIIMS.
“We saw around 300 patients in our OPD with aggravated asthma. The routine medicines have stopped working and we have no other option left than suggesting more inhalers and medicines to these people. Even the medical shops are running short of inhalers and nebulizers. Patients have to run from one shop to another to get their medicines,” said Dr Bobby Bhalotra, vice-chairman, department of chest medicine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.
People are also complaining about cardiac issues and viral fever. “I just stepped out for five minutes and came back with an acute headache. The weather was extremely bad this morning. I kept sneezing and shivering,” said Sanket Singh, a resident of Lajpat Nagar.
“There is already a shortage of inhalers and nebulizers in the market. The sale of inhalers has gone up with the severity of attacks. The amount of exposure to pollution is huge,” said Dr Prashant Saxena, HOD, pulmonology and sleep medicine, Max Smart Super Speciality hospital, Saket. Smog is extremely hazardous for those with a history of respiratory illness. Children and heart patients, in particular, have been advised to take special care.