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Respiratory problems on the rise as mercury dips

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  • Respiratory problems on the rise as mercury dips


    Respiratory problems on the rise as mercury dips
    Vidya Krishnan Posted: Dec 26, 2008 at 0217 hrs IST

    New delhi: With continuous fluctuation in temperature, several people have reported to hospitals with respiratory infections. According to doctors, there has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of patients suffering from asthma, bronchitis and related ailments.

    Chilly mornings, warm afternoons and cold evenings — people with underlying asthma are finding it difficult to cope with the frequent change in temperatures, says Dr Randeep Guleria, pulmonary expert, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). “We are receiving a lot of patients suffering from breathing problems. Fluctuation in the temperatures is actually worse than constant cold conditions. People who

    already have breathing difficulties find their airway blocked due to these fluctuations,” he adds.

    On Thursday, Delhiites woke up to a chilly and windy morning, with the mercury plummeting to 7 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal. By afternoon, however, it got reasonably warm, and the temperature settled at a maximum of 24.5 degrees Celsius — a good two degrees above normal.

    According to doctors, one reason why winters trigger respiratory infections and asthma is that people spend more time indoors. Closed doors and windows prevent air circulation, thereby leading to higher concentrations of indoor allergens. Constant rise and fall in temperature is also known to trigger asthma attacks, as it can sometimes block the airway.

    The smog accompanying the cold, too, can cause a lot of problems for people suffering from asthma or bronchitis. “Patients avoid venturing out early in the morning and late in the evening. Also, sudden exposure should be avoided. The best way to beat the chill is to have a balanced diet and get enough sleep and exercise,” says Dr H S Heera, Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, Lok Nayak Hospital.

    The Met department has predicted a bright and clear sky for the coming days with mist at night.

    The maximum temperature predicted from Saturday is 25 degrees Celsius, while the minimum will hover around 8 degrees due to the arrival of winds from the northern states.

    Beat the chill
    * Avoid exposure during early mornings and late evenings
    * Cover yourself adequately if venturing out
    * Avoid sudden exposure or extreme changes in temperature — like immediately switching on heaters after coming from outdoors
    * Patients on medication must keep their medicines handy even while outdoors
    * Consult a doctor if allergy worsens