7 April 2022
World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7th April to garner public attention to health issues and mobilize support for action. The theme of World Health Day-2022 is ‘Our Planet, Our Health’. With over 4.2 million deaths per year, air pollution continues to be the ninth leading cause of cardiopulmonary deaths in the world.
Dr. Zafar Ahmad Iqbal, Director, Pulmonology, Critical Care and Sleep Studies, Fortis Hospital Mohali, in an health advisory shares tips on how to safeguard one’s health amid deteriorating air quality levels.
· Statistics in Punjab
Punjab is one of the leading states in India for lung cancer and ‘Cancer trains’ of Bathinda are known to all. Discussing the issue, Dr Zafar said, “Fortis Hospital Mohali receives patients of all age groups with respiratory symptoms during the stubble burning period (September to November). Smoking compounds the problem manifold.”
· Who are at risk?
Dr Zafar says the vulnerable group includes women and children who are exposed to indoor air pollution. “Children venture out to play and hence inhale unfiltered air directly to their lungs,” he added.
· Respiratory diseases
Dr Zafar says air pollution causes respiratory diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), lung cancer, pneumonia, asthma etc. “It also increases incidence of stroke, angina, heart failure, heart attacks, dementia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Infections of the respiratory tract, including covid, flu, eye, throat and pneumonia are also caused due to bad quality air,” he added.
· Prevention is the key
Dr Zafar says efforts are required at the state and government level to curb air pollution. “Planting more trees, regulating polluting industries, limiting vehicular pollution and switching to alternative sources of energy. Use appropriate masks and clothing, car-pooling or public transport use, avoid vehicular exhaust exposure, keep yourself hydrated and practice frequent washing of hands and face,” added Dr Zafar.