Acute respiratory infections have risen alarmingly in India

Health Care, Social Health Community Comments Off

ARI is a serious infection that prevents normal breathing function

New Delhi, 16 December 2017: As per reports, air pollution killed an estimated 1.81 million people in India in 2015. Acute respiratory infections (ARI) have increased from 32.76 million in 2013 to 40.3 million in 2016, rising consistently over the past four years. For almost two-thirds of the cities and towns where air quality was monitored, PM10 levels were above permissible limits in 2016. Nitrogen dioxide crossed the limits in 21 places and 31 places did not meet the PM 2.5 standards.

ARI is a serious infection that prevents normal breathing function. It usually begins as a viral infection in the nose, trachea (windpipe), or lungs. If the infection is not treated, it can spread to the entire respiratory system. ARI prevents the body from getting oxygen and can result in death. A person suffering from this condition needs medical assistance immediately.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “While it is impossible to avoid viruses and bacteria, certain risk factors increase the likelihood of developing acute respiratory infection. The immune systems of children and the elderly are more prone to be affected by viruses. Children are especially at risk because of their constant contact with other kids who could be virus carriers. Children often do not wash their hands regularly, rub their eyes, and put their fingers in their mouths, resulting in the spread of viruses. People with heart diseases or other lung problems are more likely to contract an acute respiratory infection. Anyone whose immune system might be weakened by another disease is at risk. Smokers also are at high risk and have more trouble recovering from it.”

The early symptoms of acute respiratory infection usually appear in the nose and upper lungs. Some other symptoms include congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat, body aches, and fatigue. More serious symptoms are low blood oxygen level and loss of consciousness.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “With many viruses, there are no known treatments. Your doctor may prescribe medications to manage your symptoms while monitoring your condition. If your doctor suspects a bacterial infection, they may prescribe antibiotics.”

Getting the MMR and pertussis vaccine can substantially lower your risk of getting a respiratory infection. Other than that, one should also practice good hygiene. Some tips include:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after you’ve been in a public place.
  • Always sneeze into the arm of your shirt or in a tissue. Although this may not ease your own symptoms, it will prevent you from spreading infectious diseases.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and mouth, to prevent introducing germs into your system.