Tuesday December 11, 2018

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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Road Traffic Accidents Cause 1.35 Mn Deaths Each Year: WHO

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

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Traffic Crashes, Road Traffic
Two bikes were involved in an accident with a bus that crashed and turned on its roof near the town of Franschhoek, South Africa, March 7, 2015. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for urgent action to put a brake on road traffic crashes that kill 1.35 million people every year, mostly in poor developing countries.

In Geneva, the U.N. agency launched its global status report on road safety 2018.

The report found road traffic injuries to be the leading killer of children and young people aged five to 29 years, with a death occurring every 24 seconds. The report said more than half of those killed are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders and passengers.

Etienne Krug, head of the U.N. Agency’s Department on Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, called these deaths a huge inequality issue.

Traffic Signals, Road Traffic
Traffic and congestion on roads is frequent in all cities of India. Wikimedia

“Low-income countries have one percent of the vehicles in the world and 13 percent of all the deaths; while high-income countries have 40 percent of all the vehicles,” Krug said. “So, that is 40 times more, but only seven percent of the deaths.That is half of the deaths with 40 times more vehicles.”

The report said death rates are highest in Africa and lowest in Europe. Some of the key risk factors include speeding, drinking and driving, and failure to use seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints.

Krug said putting the right measures in place will save lives. These include the right legislation and enforcement, creating special lanes for cyclists and improving the quality of vehicles.

Road accidents in India
Road accidents in India. Pixabay

“It is not acceptable that vehicles are being sold in developing countries that look the same as the vehicles that we see here in Switzerland or the U.S. or anywhere else, but that are not,” Krug told VOA. “Because to make them cheaper, they have been stripped of all of their safety features, such as air bags or electronic stability control, etc.”

WHO noted that 48 middle- and high-income countries that have implemented strong road traffic laws and other safety measures have made progress in reducing road deaths.

Also Read: HIV Epidemic Spreading Rapidly in Pakistan: WHO

However, it said no such progress has been made in low-income countries where safety measures are lacking. (VOA)