‘Infection due to fog can lead to hearing loss among kids’

Srinagar: Doctors in Kashmir on Thursday said that unrestrained exposure to fog can lead to serious health complications among children as they are more prone to upper respiratory tract infections.
They said that parents should be more careful while sending their children outdoors as the infection due to the severe cold wave and foggy weather in the Valley can lead to hearing impairment in them.
“Fog is a combination of humidity and dust. So, it increases air inhaled allergens and allergies among the people,” said Kashmir’s leading ENT specialist Dr Sajad Qazi.
“Kids are more prone to complications as they have narrow upper air ways which means a minor swelling can lead to serious infections,” he added.
Dr Qazi, who is a Professor in the Department of ENT at the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, said the infection can sometimes turn into the condition called ‘Glue Ear’ due to the blockade of Eustachian Tubes.
“It can also lead to the hearing impairment if immediate treatment is not given,” he said.
According to him, the associated hospitals of the GMC have seen a 30 percent increase in patients with upper respiratory tract infections since foggy weather started.
“The winter months are hard for children and adults suffering from asthma and other ailments related to upper respiratory tract infections because dry weather condition aggravate symptoms,” he said.
Dr Qazi said that fog which contains dust irritates and swells the airways in children leading to the worsening of condition in them.
“Kids need to be extra cautious and should be treated immediately to avoid serious conditions calls Laryngo-Tracheo-Bronchitis or LTB which is presented with hoarse voice, breathlessness and cough with high grade fever,” Dr Qazi said.
Medical Superintendent SMHS Hospital Dr Nazir Choudhary said the hospital has seen nearly 20 percent surge in patients with throat and chest infection since the dip in mercury.
“The present weather conditions combined with severe cold and fog automatically precipitates infections of chest and throat. Most of the patients complain of breathlessness, cough and tightness of chest. Sharp decrease in temperature also triggers severe asthma attacks in them,” he said.
Choudhary said currently over 50 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma patients are admitted to SMHS hospital as their illness aggravated following the cold weather.
“The outpatient department of SMHS hospital also remains packed with such patients,” he added.

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