Chills, Ills and Pills as Winter Grips Polluted Mumbai


Mumbai, Dec 5: Winter’s here, but the drop in temperature is keeping doctors busy. Pollution, humidity and dust can create a harmful cocktail during winter, say doctors.

“Although pollution is a perennial problem in Mumbai, it gets even worse during winter,” says Dr Kiran Jain, who has seen a 20 per cent rise in respiratory ailments in the last three weeks.

“Early-morning walks should be avoided since smog levels are high. Importantly, people with early symptoms like cough, cold and sneezing should see a doctor immediately,” he says.

Children are particularly vulnerable during winter, say doctors. According to Dr Sunil Shah, a paediatrician, kids are more susceptible to respiratory ailments than adults because of their low immunity and low body weight.

“Most children below 5 suffer from pollution-related breathlessness in Mumbai. In fact, there’s a 50 per cent rise in the number of children suffering from respiratory ailments,” he says.

Even if the weather is cooling, Mumbai’s construction is in full swing and the change in weather — coupled with the increased air pollution — provides a reservoir for a host of seasonal diseases.

Explains Dr Sugandha Shah: “People who are allergic to dust can come down with a respiratory tract infection during winter. What compounds the problem in Mumbai is the fluctuating temperature. Besides the problem of pollution, the constant change in temperature makes people ill. People should avoid consuming cold foods and wear warm clothing.”

Points out Sathi Devi, director of Meteorology Department, Colaba: “Unlike North India, where the winter temperatures are stable, temperatures at coastal stations keep on changing. A few days ago, the temperature was in the 20s; it has come down to 18o C in the last two days.”


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Title: Chills, Ills and Pills as Winter Grips Polluted Mumbai

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