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A spike in the number of respiratory cases in Mumbai

Saturday, August 12, 2017
By Raju Vernekar

Indoor air quality (IAQ) in closed environment like workplace, rooms etc. is the subject of much attention these days and due to increasing air pollution, there is a spike in the number of respiratory cases in the city as per a recent study conducted by the Association of Hospitals

According to Dr. PM. Bhujang, President of Association of Hospital, during monsoon, indoor pollution becomes a serious matter of concern leading to several respiratory problems. Some of the most common complaints associated with poor indoor air quality are flu or a cold, headaches, sinus problems, chest congestion, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and irritation of the eyes, nose or throat.

“Hospitals and local physicians in the city have noticed a spike in the number of cases with respiratory problems. But very few people are aware of the respiratory ailments that stems from indoor air pollution in monsoon caused by the dampness in the walls, fungus from air conditioners, floor carpets, velvet upholsteries, sofa covers, wooden furniture harbouring fungus, etc.

Suspended particulate matter is the main trigger of damage in air pollution. Other contents like SO2, ammonia, carbon, polyaromatic hydrocarbons add to the toxicity. Air pollutants which are less than 10 microns in size enter the smaller airways and causes damage. This triggers cough, breathing difficulty, choking, chest tightness and asthma, Dr Bhujang added.

According to Dr. Salil Bendre, Head, Chest Pulmonary Medicine at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, there is a definite rise in asthma and lung infection among children. Also, elderly and diabetics are at a risk of lung infection because of air pollution. To avoid  floor carpets, velvet upholsteries, stuffed toys, burning incense sticks at home and regular cleaning of air conditioner filters are some of the precautions that can be taken to avoid indoor air pollution during the monsoon. Besides one should drink purified water to keep away from water-borne diseases.

In the meanwhile BMC’s house to house survey to find out people suffering from TB is half way through. BMC’s Executive Health Officer Dr Padmaja Keskar, said that we have identified active as well as suspected TB affliction cases and the drive will go on till 15 th August. After the review of all the cases we will come out with a full-fledged report, she added. .

The survey is being carried out in 70 areas in the city and suburbs between 4 PM to 8 PMdaily by a team of 374 health officials.

Tuberculosis on the rise in the city
Mumbai had seen  a 20 per cent rise in TB cases in 2015 over that of 2014, with the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) registering higher multi-drug resistance. As per the  figures provided by the BMC, in 2014, around 30,000 cases were reported. In 2015, it went up to 41,056. Under the improved diagnostic system. the number of GeneXpert machines, to diagnose drug- resistant forms of tuberculosis in two hours, has gone. These machines facilitate screening of more people in a short time.

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