Exacerbation of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), dermatitis, and dry eyes or allergic conjunctivitis are the most frequently reported air pollution-related cases at the district’s government hospital, as per data collected by the health department over the last two months.
According to officials, around 10 cases of each category of symptoms related to air pollution were reported daily at the Sector 10 Civil Hospital’s outpatient department (OPD) in November and December, when pollution levels rose due to stubble burning and meteorological reasons. The number in the second week of January has come down to around four each, officials said.
The Civil Hospital sees around 1,000 patients in its OPD daily, as per records.
The district health department has been reporting air pollution-related cases at the government hospital to the state health department since November 4, following a direction from the latter in late October. Other cases identified as air pollution-related include acute bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, and rhinosinusitis (inflammation of sinuses and nasal cavity).
District health department officials said that the data of such cases between November and February will be collated to find the impact of pollution on the health of residents.
“The types of cases reported were specified by the state health department earlier, and are symptoms and diseases closely linked to air pollution,” Dr Ram Prakash Rai, district epidemiologist, said, adding that the purpose of collecting the data was to identify the rise in health problems in the district due to pollution and find solutions.
Studies have shown that air pollution is a major cause of death and disease around the world. Bad air quality is linked to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and acute respiratory infections in children, experts said.