New Delhi [India]: The poor air quality in the national capital and NCR region is affecting children badly and almost eight out of ten children in the hospital are coming up with respiratory problems, says an expert.
The air quality continues to remain very poor category with AQI recorded at 385 on Tuesday morning.
According to Dr Anamika Dubey, Senior Consultant Pediatrics, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, “In this season, many children come to the OPD, I think 8 out of 10 patients are coming with complaints of cold, cough and increasingly breathing issues, cough increases more at night and distress. Moreover, small children are not able to express themselves they are not able to say that they are having a problem but it’s giving them a lot of problems.”
R Dubey said that pollution increases the number of poisonous gases and particulate matter they do affect the lungs of babies and children.
“Normally, the smaller children would start with flu-like symptoms, they will have a cold cough. And in some patients, it increases to a point where they are like they face difficulty in breathing. We have to actually admit them and put them on medicines and nebulizers. So, that they can breathe properly. These are all harmful gases, they do have an effect on the breathing of the child and the conditions of the lungs,” she said.
She further recommended wearing masks and washing hands frequently as a precaution.
“It is very difficult to tell children to wear a mask every day and keep a distance from the child who’s having a cold. We cannot say children that don’t go to school, otherwise most of the time they will be sitting at home.”
Dr Dubey said that the only way to protect a child is to keep washing their hands with clean water.
“During air pollution, the problem increases for those children who are asthmatic or bronchitis. The problem that many times increases for the child who is always been more allergic and they have a tendency to precipitate more severe bronchitis kind of situation. They do have more problems as compared to others,” Dr Dubey added.
She said that mild patients are treated at home and moderate to severe patients in the hospital.
“We categorise the patients in terms of mild, moderate and severe. So mild patients are treated at home and moderate to severe patients are in the hospital, and then put on medications. We don’t give them antibiotics. But we put them on anti-allergens, nebuliser, etc.,” she explained the treatment given to the children category-wise.
The air quality in Delhi continued to remain in the ‘very poor category on Tuesday morning as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city stood at 385.
Noida, which is part of the national capital region, recorded an AQI of 444 and slipped from ‘very poor’ to the ‘severe’ category, while Gurugram’s AQI stood at 391 and continued to remain in the ‘very poor category, as per data released by SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) India.
Air Quality Index from 0 to 100 is considered as good, while from 100 to 200 it is moderate, from 200 to 300 it is poor, and from 300 to 400 it is said to be very poor and from 400 too 500 or above it is considered as severe.
The air quality in Delhi’s satellite cities showed no improvement from the previous day. Gurgaon is predicted to slip into the ‘severe’ category from Wednesday, November 2.
Noida’s air quality is also expected to dip further.
The city of Delhi too fared very poorly. Narela in North West Delhi reported the highest AQI at 571.
North Delhi Air Quality is the poorest at the moment as almost all the stations have AQI above 400.
Most of the stations in the capital have an AQI above 300 except a few like Mandir Marg in central Delhi.
According to data by SAFAR, Dhirpur in Model Town registered an AQI of 494. The AQI near IGI Airport (T3) also stood in the ‘very poor’ category on Tuesday with an AQI of 332.
Delhi slipped into ‘severe’ on the AQI meter on Saturday. With air pollution worsening in the national capital, Delhi authorities halted all construction work and demolition activities till further orders.