Delhi Pollution: Surgical Mask not Effective, Suggests Doctors

Delhi Pollution: Surgical Mask not Effective, Suggests Doctors

NEW DELHI:
People in Delhi are trying to adopt as many preventative measures as possible to safeguard themselves from the hazardous effects of air pollution.

Doctors suggest that the surgical masks may do little over having a psychological effect. People in Delhi are trying to adopt as many preventative measures as possible to safeguard themselves from the hazardous effects of air pollution. The national capital is witnessing heightened AQI levels due to changing weather conditions and burning of stubble in neighbouring states.

Historically, stubble burning and Diwali cracker bursting coupled with the onset of chilly weather conditions make November and December worst months for air quality in Delhi. The hospitals have already started observing a rise in footfall of the patients suffering from respiratory and breathing complications due to pollution, In return, the doctors are also advising patients and common citizen as to what they can do to safeguard themselves.

The top measure which doctors are suggesting to patients is simple but not very practical, that is – not to step out of their houses. Anil Sachdeva, a pulmonologist and pediatrician at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, “I am seeing about 20 patients a day, and seven out of 10 are complaining of some sort of allergy, cough or respiratory problem, even watery eyes. Fifty per cent of them are fresh cases.” The doctor said that he is prescribing his patient to confine themselves indoor. “I am in fact writing it on prescriptions now — ‘please don’t move outdoor’, and I feel bad, as children need to go out and play, but the air isn’t just god for them.

Vivek Nangia, pulmonologist and head, Lung Center at Fortis hospital in Vasant Kunj, also asserted that there was “sudden increase” in footfall in the last few weeks. He too recommended that a person’s mobility out of home should be restricted as much as possible.

However, the doctor said that surgical masks people use in order to save themselves from pollution do not serve any purpose. Both Doctors Nangia and Sachdeva advised to use N91 or N95 masks to help keep particulate matter out. “Surgical masks do not serve any purpose, really so these specialised masks should be used. People, especially children when they move out should either wear a mask or put a wet piece of cloth over their mouth,” Nangia said.

Dr Vivek Monga, Secretary of India Medical Association, also said that the surgical masks may do little over having a psychological effect. “Surgical masks don’t help,they can’t stop any pollutants… special masks for pollution are expensive and no mask works over 8-10 hours… it’s better if you use good quality mask… Common masks only have a psychological benefit but won’t help much,” Monga said.

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