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Know the impact of pollution on vulnerable populations

Air pollution is the contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent. It is caused by household combustion appliances, motor vehicles, industrial facilities, and forest fires. Pollutants that cause major public health concerns include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

According to Dr. Srinivasan V, a consultant and interventional pulmonologist at Gleneagles Healthcity Chennai, “3.2 million people die every year from indoor air pollution caused by incomplete combustion of solid fuels and kerosene used for cooking.” They die prematurely from diseases.” To reduce lower respiratory infections (LRI), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and stroke. Additionally, exposure to household air pollution nearly doubles the risk of LRIs in childhood and is responsible for 44% of pneumonia deaths in children under 5 years of age.”

Effects of excessive exposure to pollution:

Dr Vasunetra Kasaragod, consultant pulmonology at Manipal Hospital Millers Road, said, “Exposure to polluted air causes inflammation in these airways, leading to bronchitis. Common symptoms of bronchitis include coughing with white mucus, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If not treated early, repeated exposure can lead to chronic bronchitis or COPD, an irreversible disease. Patients who have underlying lung conditions such as asthma, COPD, interstitial lung disease, post-COVID-19 fibrosis, etc. have a higher incidence and severity of pollution-induced effects. Creating awareness about the harmful effects of pollution is the need of the hour. Current and future generations need clean air to survive. “Major efforts by public and private players are required in this direction.”

Preventive measures to be taken:

Talking about measures to reduce the impact of air pollution, Dr. Manjunath PH, consultant interventional pulmonologist at Gleneagles Hospital Kengeri, Bengaluru, said, “Air pollution has a negative impact on the lung health of everyone from infants to the elderly. In infants and children, it affects lung development and also causes allergies in children with increased complaints of eye irritation and skin rashes with poor air quality. Always wear a mask when going out to stay safe from pollution. Avoid going outside when you feel the air quality is bad. “Take steps to improve the overall health of our bodies by eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity.”

Other than this, Dr. Srinivasan V said, “Due to weak immunity and respiratory protection in old age, they are more prone to bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Timely vaccination can help them build their immunity and protect them from the above infections. Nowadays everyone needs good hydration, good sleep, timely food intake and healthy lifestyle by which we can reduce our stress levels and boost our immunity power.”

(Disclaimer: The information provided in the article, including treatment suggestions shared by doctors, is for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified person regarding any medical condition. healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding.)

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