It was also noted that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds were at a slightly higher risk of developing respiratory issues.

Bengalurus air pollution leading to increased respiratory illness in children StudyRepresentative image
Health Health Wednesday, August 01, 2018 - 18:15

A recent study published in the Indian Journal of Pediatrics revealed that more children were developing chronic cough and other respiratory ailments due to the increased air pollution in the city. 

The study, undertaken by Dr H Paramesh, a senior paediatric pulmonologist in Bengaluru, showed that the incidence of a number of allergic airway diseases had gone up significantly since 1999 and in particular, it was noted that more children in the city are suffering from ‘chronic cough.’  

“Chronic cough is one that lasts as long as 8 weeks. Usually, we see the cases of chronic cough as a result of some underlying condition such as asthma, bronchitis, or some allergy,” explains Dr Swetha H, a paediatrician from Chennai. 

According to one report, the prevalence of chronic cough in those below 18 years of age, related to air pollution, had increased to 21% in 2017 from 8% in 1999. 

The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) attributes this increase in air pollution levels to an increase in the number of automobiles on the road, as well as an increase in industrial emissions and construction activities.  

KSPCB report from May 2018 indicates that the ‘Air Quality Index’ in the city was at 131, which means that the air pollution levels were high enough to cause breathing difficulties in those with underlying lung and heart ailments as well as in younger children.  

It was also pointed out in the study that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds were at a slightly higher risk of developing air pollution-related respiratory illnesses. 

For those already suffering from issues such as asthma or bronchitis, air pollution has been proven to be an aggravating factor to these problems.  

“Nearly 8 million global deaths are from air pollution. Over one billion population are the sufferers during 2015 and will increase to 4 billion by 2050. Air pollution not only triggers the asthma episodes but also changes the genetic pattern in initiating the disease process. Over the years, our concept of management of allergic airway disease has changed from control of symptoms to prevention of the disease,” states the study.  

Dr Paramesh further stated that in order to overcome the issue of air pollution, ‘clean air policies’ must be implemented.