As cases of respiratory ailments spike due to deteriorating air quality in the national capital, doctors are raising concerns about long-term health effects on children and the elderly. 

According to Dr. Arvind Kumar, the chairman of the Institute of Chest Surgery at Medanta, the toxins from the pollutants in the air may make children hyper-irritable and raise the risk of stroke for the aged. 

"Long-term effects on the brain make the children hyper-irritable. I think it is neuro-inflammation because of the toxins from the pollutants. In elderly people, it increases the risk of stroke by 10 times," Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI.

New Delhi--Pollution
Delhi govt has implemented Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)IANS

Further, he informed that sore eyes and throat, burning in eyes and nose, and dry-itchy eyes have become the most common complaints among Delhi residents now. "If you touch your tongue there's metallic taste, sore throat too," he said. 

"As smoke goes inside the chest, it causes immediate acute inflammation in the windpipe, and lungs. Then these toxic chemicals get absorbed from the lungs, they go to the blood, through which they circulate everywhere from head to toe, affecting every organ," he added. 

He also mentioned that there has been an increase in the number of patients in ICUs with chest infections and pneumonia. "It's a proof documented fact that following the peaks of pollution, there's a recorded increase in the number of people getting admitted to ICUs with pneumonia and chest infections," he said. 

His concerns were echoed by Dr Nikhil Modi, a pulmonologist at Apollo Hospital, who stated that respiratory problems have increased in the city due to smog. 

New Delhi pollution
A blanket of toxic haze engulfs the national capital.IANS

"People without any other health issues are complaining of runny nose, sneezing, nose block, throat irritation and breathing difficulties. Pneumonia and other infections are increasing," he said. 

He suggested that people should "avoid going out as much as possible". "Go out during afternoons when the pollution level is low.Use masks if going out. Maintain a healthy diet with vegetables and fruits containing antioxidants. Do regular indoor exercises to keep your lungs healthy," he said. 

This comes as the Air Quality Index (AQI) on Wednesday morning rested at 364 (very poor category) at 8 am and 408 (severe) at 7 am. Owing to this, residents woke up with complaints of choking and burning eyes, as per reports. 

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) wrote to Delhi's chief secretary and recommended shutting schools in the interest of the children till air quality improves. 

To mitigate the situation, state environment minister Gopal Rai has introduced 10 action plans and imposed strict restrictions, including a strict ban on construction and demolition except in some cases.