“We have seen even people without pre-existing lung issues complaining of chest problems with a change in weather leading to wheezing, stiffness in chest and other conditions,” said Dr Puneet Khanna, head of pulmonology and respiratory medicine, Manipal Hospital, Dwarka. “In Delhi, where pollution is a big headache, those with existing lung problems need to take more care. I think by the time winter approaches, the number of people with such problems will be at a high because pollution and cold will together make things worse.”
Other doctors said that it’s not just those with previous respiratory concerns that needed to be extra cautious, but everyone who has a post-Covid breathing problem. They advised patients with breathing issues especially to avoid social gatherings for some time.
The experts categorised the setbacks into two types: the first in which people have pre-existing lung problems or their lungs are compromised and don’t work to full capacity and second, those in which people didn’t have pre-existing respiratory illnesses but following Covid infection are experiencing discomfort. In most cases, such problems are arising in people who had moderate and severe Covid experiences.
Dr Vikas Maurya, director and head of pulmonology at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, stated that even last year there was a big rise in people having problems with respiration and lungs last winter. “There were more people suffering from pneumonia, low respiratory tract infection and other lung-related problems in the winter months,” he said. “Pollution also has an adverse effect on the lungs that are already dealing with new problems. And then there are seasonal allergies occurring with a change in weather. I think the most important thing is to maintain a healthy diet and monitor yourself from time to time. Breathing exercises and protein-rich food also help. Thankfully, people are much more conscious about Covid-related behaviour now than last year.”
Dr Anant Mohan, head of pulmonary medicine at AIIMS, felt it was key for individuals to remain in touch with their doctor and to go for regular check-ups. “Adverse environmental factors are already prevailing in the city. One needs to be careful because all these factors are always present,” Mohan cautioned. “One has to be vigilant, be in touch with the doctor and seek medical advice if one is facing any problems.”