New Delhi: Hospitals in Delhi saw fewer people coming in with respiratory illnesses this year as the national capital reported less air pollution post-Diwali compared to last year. Also, fewer instances of burn injuries were reported in Hospitals than in 2021.
Doctors, however, warned that it is too early to reach a definitive conclusion about the prevalence of respiratory illness post-Diwali since people tend to come to hospitals only when their condition worsens.
“The air quality this time is better than the last few years. Although there has been an increase in the number of respiratory cases in the last couple of days, the numbers were about 20 per cent less than last year, ” said Dr Manoj Goel the Director of Pulmonology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
Government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital reported fewer instances of such cases.
Dr Suresh Kumar, the medical director of LNJP Hospital said four to five patients came with respiratory complaints on Diwali.
GTB Hospital’s Medical Director Dr Subhash Giri said there were fewer complaints of such respiratory illnesses since the air quality is slightly better this year probably due to windy conditions and a ban on firecrackers.
About burn injuries, Dr Giri said the hospital received 23 such cases. “Four were serious while the rest were minor burn injuries.”
LNJP also received six cases of burn injuries with all of them being minor ones, said its medical director.
Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai Tuesday said the national capital saw a 30 per cent drop in incidents of bursting firecrackers on Diwali this year as against last year and recorded its best air quality for the day after the festival in five years.
The air quality index (AQI) stood at 323 on Tuesday (the day after Diwali) as compared to 462 last year, which means the “air pollution declined by over 30 per cent”, he said.
The minister said the AQI on the day after Diwali stood at 390 in 2018, 368 in 2019 and 435 in 2020.
The air quality in Delhi on Diwali turned “very poor” amid an increase in stubble burning, bursting of firecrackers and moderately unfavourable meteorological conditions which allowed the accumulation of pollutants.
However, the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) of 312 was still the second best for Diwali day in seven years.
Dr Sumit Ray, the head of the department of critical care medicine at the Holy Family Hospital, said that even though there were fewer cases of respiratory illnesses such as COPD and asthma, the situation needs to be monitored for the next couple of days.
“People tend to go to hospitals when their condition worsens. So we might see a surge in patients over the next couple of days,” he said.
His views were endorsed by Dr Manoj Goel who advised people to get vaccinated against flu and pneumonia.
“It is too early to make a definitive conclusion. We still need to be careful and take all the measures to prevent pollution. Continue preventive therapy if suffering from chronic lung and heart diseases following doctor’s advice,” he said.
Dr Ray said they received six cases of burn injuries, with one being serious. “We referred that patient to Safdarjung Hospital.”
Some hospitals, however, saw a significant spike in cases of respiratory illness.
Dr Bhagwan Mantri, a consultant pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Moolchand Hospital, said there has been a 30 to 40 per cent spike in such cases.
“My patients complained of respiratory issues and we had to alter their medicines to ensure that their problems are not severely triggered,” he said.