Smog: Mumbai witnesses rise in respiratory illnesses  

Outdoor activities such as jogging and running are known to be quite helpful. However, such an outdoor activity in Mumbai during the mornings could have a hazardous on your respiratory system. Doctors advise people against going for morning walks as they will be prone to fall ill with upper respiratory illness

Smog: Mumbai witnesses rise in respiratory illnesses

What seemed like a usual foggy winter morning on Saturday turned out to be a prolonged pent up smog for the city. The air quality index ranged from poor to very poor in the day, not coming anywhere close to moderate or satisfactory.

At 6pm, the air quality index in the city clocked 302 in Borivali, 308 in Andheri, 307 in BKC and a whopping 345 in Navi Mumbai. Such staggering figures hint at the poor air quality index as recorded by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), Mumbai.

There is clear increase in respiratory infections in the city in such weather. Asthma, chest infection, bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) could be some of them. Doctors across the country say that there is an unmistakable rise in the number of COPD cases.

“We are seeing 20-30 per cent rise in the number of non-smoking patients with COPD. Air pollution is the major factor linked to non-smoking COPD. In metro cities outdoor pollution is a major cause linked to the rise in non-smoking COPD,” said Dr Prashant Chhajed, a leading pulmonologist from Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai.

In order to prevent these, doctors suggest some preventive measures. “In the current season, it is better to avoid morning and evening walks. It is advisable to go for walks once the sun has come out during the day. During high levels of pollution, masks may be used,” added Dr Chhajed.

Doctors further advise people to stay indoors. “Staying indoors is the best option in such weather. If you are prone to chronic illnesses or do have a difficult respiratory condition, wearing a mask is advisable. Taking the prescribed vaccines will prove to be helpful. Especially, children should be taken care of. In such weather, eye or nasal allergies will be seen more in children,” said Dr Aditya Agrawal, a chest specialist at Bhatia Hospital.

What you can do this winter to keep upper respiratory tract infection away

  • Taking the flu shot, that can help improve immunity
  • Stay away from the pollution in the atmosphere
  • Doing simple deep breathing exercises like yoga exercises
  • Maintain personal hygiene
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Use a protective face mask
  • Cover your mouth while sneezing
  • Wear warm clothes and consume warm food and water
  • Gargle daily with warm water
  • Avoid citrus food
  • If suffering from running nose, take steam inhalation