Diwali blues: Bursting firecrackers lead to rise in asthma in children

The experts warn the cities and concerned authorities/ agencies to pay adequate attention. And urge the healthcare providers to take responsibilities to sensitise people about pollution and its harmful effects on children. They also informed that preventive measures need to be taken now; otherwise India would face a catastrophic rise in healthy emergency for kids

Pollution and construction work are the main causes for rise in childhood asthma in cities
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Diwali is celebrated as a festival of Joy but can also bring trouble and sorrow to people who are suffering from Asthma. Fire crackers worsen the existing pollution which acts as a trigger to precipitate respiratory problems both in children and adults. With changing weather at this time of the year there is an increase in allergens in the air. Hence, an increase in allergens along with smog and pollutants can predispose children to viral and bacterial infection causing severe and life threatening breathing difficulties.

Distressing air pollution in Mumbai caused havoc on the health of people. Children are the main victims as hazardous chemicals affect their low immune system. “Alarming increase in air pollution attacks the respiratory system,  Moreover higher level of carbon monoxide directly hits the cardiovascular system and the entire respiratory tract, particularly among children,” says Dr R P Khubchandani, MD Director Pediatrics at Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai.

 According to studies conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), one in five adults and one in four children in the national capital suffered from upper respiratory diseases, and that these numbers were on an upward trend. Other metro and big cities with industrial clusters are facing the similar challenge. Kid’s health has become a major concern for all.

“Children who are not on inhalers and proper controller medications are worse affected due to such triggers. They tend to have increased night time symptoms in the form of cough and disturbed sleep which result in poor day time activity and school absenteeism. It increases the risk of emergency medical visits and hospitalisations and affects the quality of life of such children,” Dr Indu Khosla, Consultant Pediatrician and Respiratory Medicine specialist (MD Ped, RCPCH Fellow in Ped Pulmonology) from Cloudnine Hospital, Mumbai.

According to experts, India also needs to replace oral medication and accept inhalation therapy as a preferred form of medication to treat asthma.