Coronavirus India lockdown day 233 live updates | Air pollution, cold a lethal pair for COVID-19 patients, say doctors

Doctors have warned that high levels of air pollution, exhausted medical staff and the stressed health infrastructure in the northern States is making COVID-appropriate behaviour a “must-follow”.

“Our public health behaviour over the next 8-10 days will be extremely crucial and could decide the fate of India’s COVID wave. Our healthcare workers are exhausted. The general public should avoid super-spreader events. The risks they (health care workers) endure far outweigh any urges to do otherwise. Celebrate sensibly. Give the medical staff reasons to keep fighting,” warned Arvind Singh Soin, chairman of the Institute of Liver Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, Medanta-The Medicity.

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Air pollution, cold a lethal pair for COVID-19 patients, say doctors

Warning that the seasonal north Indian winter smog is here and poor quality air causes inflammation in the lungs, making people more vulnerable to breathing-related ailments, Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head of Pulmonology at the Max Super Speciality Hospital in Saket in Delhi said: “We see a rise of about 15-20 % in the cases both in OPD and emergency due to respiratory and cardiac ailments.”

“Many people encounter acute exacerbations of their asthma and COPDs. This year the situation is compounded by the ongoing COVID pandemic. Poor associated allergic problems like nasal discharge/sneezing, headache, eye burning, sore throat etc. have also been observed, especially in children. This is also the time when the number of cases of Influenza, H1N1 and pneumonias rise due to change in weather conditions,” he added.

“It has been observed that in areas with poor quality air, not only do the number of people developing COVID increase but so does the death rate. With every 1 micron/cubic meter increase in the PM 2.5 particles, the mortality rate increases by 8%. A direct relationship exists between air pollution and COVID-19 infection. There is a positive association of PM2.5, PM10, CO, NO2 and O3 with COVID-19 confirmed cases observed,” he said.

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