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NEW DELHI : The percentage of patients complaining of respiratory ailments has increased by about 30 per cent in hospital OPDs after the festive season, as per doctors across the city.

On Wednesday, the city witnessed thick smog with the air pollution at dangerous levels which made it breathing difficult for many in the National Capital.

Dr Vikas Maurya, Head of Respiratory department at Fortis hospital said, "Post Diwali, the situation has worsened. Nearly 30 per cent of patients have increased in the OPD complaining of chest disorder, sneezing, viral infection and cough. It is going to get worse in the coming days."

(Prof) Dr Anant Mohan, Head of pulmonology department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) further stated that the trend may well shoot up in the next few days.

"In the coming days, the trend will shoot up. It is seen that during critical levels of air pollution, normal people without any pre-existing disease also get affected. They complain about redness and burning sensation in eyes, chest congestion, choked throat, cold and viral infection. All these can be attributed to poor air quality," he said.

It is important to note that for the last five years, Delhi has been witnessing a public health emergency in the form of air pollution.

Clean air is a human right and there is a need for an emergent serious response to tackle this, health experts say.

Prof (Dr) G C Khilnani, Chairman of Pulmonary department at PSRI Hospital highlighted that those who suffer from pre-existing diseases are more susceptible to catching infections in the prevailing environment.

"We are seeing an upsurge of more than 30 percent patients in the OPD. Elderly patients, children, pregnant mothers and those who suffer from pre-existing diseases are more vulnerable to catch the infection," Khilnani said.

"On Wednesday, in my OPD, I saw many patients who complained of dry throat, smarting of eyes and breathlessness. It is advisable that people should cover their mouth with an N-95 mask and do not step outside in the early morning. Especially patients with Asthma, COPD, Bronchitis and heart complications should not go out of the house and use an air purifier at home," he added.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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