BENGALURU: T he city has grown exponentially, but the accompanying rise in pollution has residents worrying about their health. A recent study had reported a high density of particulate matter in the air. Therefore, there are many cases of allergic reactions.
Dr H S Satish, Medical Superintendent, Victoria Hospital, says his hospital sees at least 15 cases of allergic rhinitis every day. Patients cannot stop sneezing.
“Allergy is an hyper-immune state, where a sensitive individual reacts to an allergen (pollen, dust, smoke) by developing rhinorrhea (running nose), sneezing, itching, blocked nose, nasal stuffiness. It can be diagnosed through nasal endoscopy, blood tests (Total IgE or allergen specific IgE, Absolute eosinophil count) and through a skin-prick test,” he says. Nasal area in the first to be affected by pollutants so he suggests heading to a pulmonologist if you have persistent sneezing.
Dr Sashidhar Buggi, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Disease, says there are three types of allergens. One is physical in which particles like dust, smaller than 5 microns, enter the chest and cause infections. Second is chemical caused by emissions from vehicles and factories. The third is biological caused by pollen or virus, bacteria or fungi.
The body reacts to the exposure by growing unwanted tissue, or pulmonary fibrosis. Infection and inflammation causes partial obstruction of the lung area, leading to breathing trouble.
Dr KS Satish, chief of pulmonology, Vikram Hospital, says,”Particulate matter measuring 2.1 microns enters the lungs directly. This can lead to allegies, aggravate asthma, and finally cause lung cancer.”
People must be watchful of water pollutants too. Aquagenic urticaria, contracted when swimming or bathing in polluted water, can cause itching and rashes all over the body.
Dust particles can also cause the skin to itch, from allergic dermatitis.
The city has seen an increase in dust mites - micro-organisms living in bed linen - too. The best way to tackle them is by washing bed linen in hot water, more effective than detergents.