Delhi smog: Over 600 children land in hospital during pollution menace


600 kids were admitted to hospitals in the first two weeks of November.

While rising air pollution has left all of us gasping for breath, it has been especially difficult for children to go about their day-to-day schedule. Data collected by Mail Today from various hospitals in Delhi and NCR reveals that more than 600 kids were admitted to hospitals – some even in ICUs – in the first two weeks of November.

Delhi’s air quality was at the season’s worst in this period due to the combined effect of smoke from stubble burning, vehicular pollution, construction sites and road dust.

During this period, Kalawati Sarin received nearly 500 kids, of which 100 suffered chest issues requiring admission and nebulisation. Similarly, Safdarjung hospital received 186 kids who needed hospital care, followed by AIIMS (100). RML admitted 200 children during the same period.

Dr Anil Sachdeva, senior pediatrician, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said that from November 6-11, the hospital’s pediatric emergency and OPD received at least 670 children in total, out of which 40 per cent complained of breathing problems early in the morning. The hospital also received 15 kids who required ICU care.

“It was the worst time for children as they complained of breathlessness and suffocation early in the morning while going to the school. We consulted hundreds of kids in our OPD, of which 15 required ICU observation. For sure, air pollution is a major factor for triggering respiratory illnesses in kids,” Sachdeva said.

Health experts say whenever a child suffers from any kind of breathing problem, headache, feverishness, choked throat and nose; it is time to rush him to a doctor and not to school. Private hospitals too recorded a number of cases where children came in complaining of breathlessness and respiratory problems.

Dr Varinder Singh, professor of pediatric department at Kalawati Hospital, told Mail Today, “Air pollution is one of the leading factors for children falling sick. The quality of air we are breathing is not suitable for us. Then we can simply understand how deadly it is for young kids.

Definitely, patients reporting to the OPD and emergency departments were significantly high.”

Jaypee Hospital, Noida received 56 patients in the pediatric emergency ward and 267 patients in OPD from November 6-11, said Dr Ashu Sawhey, senior consultant, mother and child department. “Around 40 per cent of the children (108) suffered respiratory issues who required nebulisation. While six were admitted, one patient was kept in ICU for monitoring,” he said.

Dr Pinki Yadav, medical superintendent at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, said, “Last week, due to smog in Delhi, kids suffered a lot of medical problems. At our hospital, we saw about 60-65 cases related with pulmonary sickness in kids. We referred some 57cases in OPD, six in emergency and one in IPD.”

AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria termed Delhi’s air pollution ‘a silent killer’ as the deteriorating air quality is slowly killing the respiratory system of human beings and forcing them on ventilators and ICUs, causing a life threatening situation.


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