Raising the alarm bar of the Delhiites’, a case appeared in national capital where due to poor air quality, serious asthma attack was triggered in a 30 year old man.
He was admitted to the emergency department at a hospital in west Delhi after he complained of acute onset of breathlessness, wheezing and low oxygen levels.
Upon examination, he was diagnosed with eosinophilic asthma, a type of asthma that is marked by high levels of eosinophil cells. Interestingly, the man had no history of smoking or asthma.
According to the doctors, poor air quality triggered his illness. He had no fever or signs of any active infection and no other associated factor that could have caused such symptoms.
Generally, asthma symptoms are caused by narrowing of the airways due to inflammation. Eosinophilic asthma, a phenotype of asthma causes inflammation of entire respiratory system, from nose all the way down to the tiniest airway.
This happens due to hyper responsiveness of the airway to inhaled allergens or pollutants. The breathing may become more labored, and wheezing may get louder in this condition.
The disease can be fatal as if it is not controlled, and can cause permanent narrowing of the airways. While the narrowing of the airways may be irreversible, it is not inevitable.
“On examination, his blood levels showed eosinophilia which is suggestive of allergy that caused flare-up of bronchial asthma due to poor air quality containing several allergens and toxins. A significantly raised eosinophil level, obstructive pattern in the pulmonary function test, raise exhaled nitric oxide level and clinical examination made us sure that it is flare up of eosinophilic asthma,” says Dr Akshay Budhraja, Consultant, Pulmonology, Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka.
The patient was admitted to the hospital on October 31 in emergency ward at Aakash Healthcare. He was already suffering from breathlessness, dry cough, throat irritation, was unable to sleep properly, had generalized weakness, decreased oral intake from around 2 days before admission.
The patient was given nebulized medicines, steroid shot and oxygen supplementation. He was discharged on November 4 (Diwali) after treatment, on home oxygen therapy.
The patient was born and brought up in Delhi, so that explains his exposure to toxic air for almost three decades.
There has been a significant rise in flare-up (acute attack) of bronchial asthma cases in Delhi, especially after Diwali. For people in general and especially those with respiratory problems, doctor has advised to take some precautions. He has advised such people to stay indoors as much as possible, continue with regular medication for Asthma and avoid early morning walks.
In addition to this, such people should wear N95, KN95 or FFP2 mask if they spend most of their time outdoors, due to work.
“In addition to this, COVID, Flu & Pneumococcal vaccination can help avoid the risk of breathing issues & respiratory infections due to polluted air and acute attacks of asthma & COPD. Previous covid infection, especially severe covid recovered patients are more prone to respiratory illnesses during high pollution levels” says Dr Akshay Budhraja.
The air quality in Delhi-NCR slipped to hazardous category on the morning after Diwali night as a heavy smog layer covered the entire region. Despite ban, people engaged in bursting crackers, which contributed to the already toxic air in the national capital.