“Air pollution may exacerbate risks of Covid-19” – WeForNews

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New Delhi, November 4: With the current Covid pandemic having airborne transmission, particles (PM) in the air could act as a vector to increase the spread of the virus, experts have said.

AIIMS Patna Associate Professor Dr Abhishek Shankar said air pollution is one of the biggest challenges and there have been discussions globally for strategic solutions to this problem. This has become more important now given the positive correlation between air pollution and the spread of the coronavirus, he added.

“These can be well understood with two assumptions. First, Covid-19, like other viruses, has airborne transmission, and PM could act as a vector to increase the spread of the virus. Second, the particles could damage lung cells, increase inflammation leading to increased mortality and this effect may be more pronounced in most polluted areas, ”Shankar told IANS.

Air pollution also weakens the immune system, compromising the ability to fight infections. Long-term exposure to chronically elevated levels of PM2.5 weakens the ability of the lungs to clear infections due to a compromise in immunity, making the general population more likely to acquire Covid-19, he added.

AIIMS Delhi Additional Community Medicine Professor Prof Harish Salve told IANS that increasing air pollution – whether from stubble burning or crackers, it can have a negative impact on compromised lungs.

As patients with severe Covid have compromised lungs, they should avoid going out in the morning as air pollution has more of an impact over time.

“Air pollution is the biggest contributor and risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like lung problems, heart failure, stroke and many more. More than 85% of deaths in India are linked to noncommunicable diseases, Salve said.

Noting that firecracker injuries most often affect the eyes, hands, face, head and fingers, Dr Tarun Kumar of RML Hospital said that most often they result in burns, but can also lead to lacerations and tissue damage. Injuries are most often associated with sparklers, aerial crackers, etc., he added.

Regarding the additive effects of crackers on pollution, he said that many harmful gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides are released when crackers burst, which can exacerbate respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis.


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