Thursday December 14, 2017

Air purifiers a good way to stay away from major respiratory diseases: Doctors

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New Delhi: In order to prevent respiratory diseases caused by indoor air pollution, doctors suggest people to install air purifiers at home which can prove helpful in preventing them.

According to doctors, air purifiers are becoming more reliable for people in cities because pollutants released indoors were 1,000 times more likely to reach the lungs than pollutants released outdoors.

More than 5.5 million people worldwide die prematurely every year due to household and outdoor air pollution, and India and China together account for 55 percent of these deaths, research has found.

Air pollution has come up as one of the major health challenges of modern Indian cities. With increasing respiratory problems, it is now important to know about pollutants, and their health hazards.

“Air purifiers are emerging as a good way to stay away from major respiratory diseases caused by indoor air pollution,” said Raj Kumar, head of respiratory allergy and applied immunology at Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.

He said recent studies have revealed the strong link between major respiratory and lung diseases due to air pollution, which clearly indicated the need to cut down the sources of indoor air pollution.

With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring air quality of Indian metropolitan cities as the worst in the world, healthcare professionals are registering a sharp rise in respiratory problems, especially in immuno-compromised population like children, elderly and people with health issues or malnutrition.

Himanshu Garg, head of respiratory and critical care at Artemis Hospital, said: “In India, we have a long-standing tradition of burning of ‘incense sticks’ and ‘dhoop’ that could increase the concentration of particulate matter (PM) by about 15 times more than the permitted levels.”

“Smoke emitted by these releases harmful pollutants. Along with this, smoke from tobacco and cooking and dust from carpets, furniture and curtains, etc. add to the indoor air pollution.”

“Health problems caused can be reduced by installing air purifiers, which bring down the percentage of pollutants in the air,” said Garg. (IANS, Image source: austinair.com)

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WHO launches a new global effort to end TB by 2030

The announcement was made in the Global Ministerial Conference in Moscow.

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WHO will start working towards ending Tuberculosis
Dr. Simon Angelo (L) examines Iman Steven suffering from tuberculosis, held by her mother (R) at the hospital of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), June 15, 2016, at the Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Malakal, South Sudan. VOA

Delegates from 114 countries have agreed to take urgent action to end tuberculosis (TB) by 2030, the WHO said.

The announcement on Friday came as the delegates gathered in Moscow for the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending tuberculosis, Xinhua news agency reported.

The delegates promised to achieve strengthen health systems and improve access to the people regarding TB prevention and care so that no one is left behind.

They also agreed to mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.

Resources are expected to advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat and prevent TB, and to build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB.

“Today marks a critical landmark in the fight to end TB,” said World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”

Though global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37 per cent, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention, according to the WHO.

As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. Due to its antimicrobial resistance, TB is also the leading killer of people with HIV.

Representatives at the meeting, which was attended by over 1,000 participants, also promised to minimize the risk and spread of drug resistance and do more to engage people and communities affected by or at risk of TB. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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Attention Delhites! Avoid Outdoor Activities as Air Pollution Levels rise in the Capital

Vikas Maurya, senior consultant at Fortis, said preventive measures like avoiding outdoor physical activities like cycling, jogging or any other outdoor exercises should be taken.

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AIR POLLUTION
Motorcycles and vehicles drive on a road while fog envelope the area (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad) (VOA)

New Delhi, November 8, 2017 : Doctors have issued a health advisory asking people to avoid outdoor activities like jogging and cycling as high levels of air pollution in Delhi and NCR can cause chronic lung and heart diseases and also affect the health of expectant mothers.

The smog that has enveloped the region for the past two days can cause allergies or aggravate already existing allergies and decrease lung immunity, according to tips shared by Fortis Healthcare.

ALSO READ India’s Air Pollution 18 Times the Healthy Limit

The high levels of air pollution might also be instrumental in causing premature birth, the doctors warned.

The other harmful effects include decrease in lung function in all age groups, aggravation of pre-existing lung and cardiac functions along with uncontrollable or chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

ALSO READ Drive Safely! Heavy smog covers India, Pakistan, causing accidents and illness

Vikas Maurya, senior consultant at Fortis, said preventive measures like avoiding outdoor physical activities like cycling, jogging or any other outdoor exercises should be taken.

He suggested that air purifying plants like Aloe Vera, Ivy and Spider Plant should be kept at home and in offices.

Fruits rich in Vitamin C, magnesium, omega fatty acids should be consumed more to fight any allergy or infection. “Have herbal ginger and tulsi tea in adequate quantity.”

The doctors said air pollution poses a major health risk and can cause stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases.

ALSO READ 10 Quick Facts About Delhi Pollution Problem

According to the WHO, 92 per cent of the world population lives in areas where the air quality is below WHO standards.

Eighty-eight per cent of premature deaths occur in the low- and middle-income countries, where air pollution is escalating at an alarming rate. (ians)