Lung disease in children on the rise

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Bangalore, Oct 23, 2013, DHNS: The changing weather conditions and poor sewage management in the City have resulted in an increase in the number of children affected by lung diseases. Those below five years of age are the most susceptible ones, pediatricians say.

Doctors in the City also said the problem is prevalent among kids who hail from areas that are less hygienic. The issue is more to do with contamination of water and air, they explained. With garbage being dumped in every corner of the City, pollutants get into the system. Broken sewage pipes in a few areas too can cause trouble, they added.

Dr Asha Benakappa, professor of pediatrics at Vani Vilas Hospital, said the hospital receives at least 12 children per week with respiratory diseases. She added that most of these cases were diagnosed to be pneumonia. “We saw 16 cases last week. Recently, two kids died of the of the same,” she explained.

Most common among the respiratory diseases are bronchiolitis (an inflammation of the bronchioles present in the lungs), viral pneumonia and bacterial pneumonia. “Viral pneumonia is quite serious among the three,” she explained.

Dr Asha said the weather condition changing by the day is one of the primary reasons. Delay in seeking medical care led to more complications and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) adds to this, she said. “We always advise the mothers to breast-feed the children as those bottle fed are six times more prone to getting respiratory infections,” Dr Asha said.

In cases where children are malnourished and those who are not breast-fed, the immune system is not strong, thus exposing them to attacks from the foreign agents. Also, an exposure to chemicals or if either of the parents smoke, the infant is in for a lot of trouble, the doctor said.

The professor said there was a lack of technical information. “People ignorantly rub vaporisers on young children not understanding how harmful the chemicals are. They go for home remedies and do not seek medical care until things go out of hand,” she added.
Doctors from private hospitals too said they had seen an increase in the cases. Moist weather aggravates most other problems as well, they explained.

“Sixty-five per cent of the City’s respiratory problems go up between July and October,” said Dr H Paramesh, Chairman and pediatric pulmonologist from the Lakeside Medical Center and Hospital.

“As the weather changes, we see an increase in bronchitis, bronchiolitis and other infections,” he said. At least 50 per cent outpatient children who came to the hospital were diagnosed with respiratory problems, he added.

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