Chennai: Unlike the last two-plus years, the public is not disciplined about wearing face masks now. This has led to a drastic increase of respiratory issues in Chennai.
Health experts and pulmonologists in the city have been seeing an uptick of cases with respiratory distress, especially among senior citizens. The vulnerable age group with chronic illness are the worst affected.
“Pre-Covid, we received at least 30-40 per cent, but during the pandemic the number of cases reduced drastically. Over 90 per cent of the practice was only for Covid-infected patients. But now, with many people spotted without masks, it has again risen marginally,” said a senior consultant at Madras Medical College.
Additionally, doctors are also witnessing bouts of cough among patients recovered from Covid due to post-viral sensitivity. And in certain individuals, it produces symptoms and triggers asthma attacks. “Compared to the pandemic lockdown, there’s at least a 20 per cent surge in respiratory problems such as infections and allergy which led to lung and asthma attacks. But when people wear a mask, it protects them from lung and air borne diseases. Vulnerable age group people and those who have chronic illness disease are worst affected,” said Dr S Jayaraman, consultant pulmonologist, MGM Healthcare.
During the pandemic, the doctors expected a high mortality rate with people affected with chronic respiratory disease. Fortunately, the numbers were not high. But, if people don’t wear masks, this can change for the worse, and may even lead to a higher mortality rate.
Experts advise that masks are the social vaccine which protects people from various respiratory diseases. Plus, there’s no harm in wearing face masks continuously, except those who are suffering from wheezing as they have breathing difficulty.