Friday, May 3, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Asthma more prevalent in children: experts
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 2
The World Asthma Day falls on May 3. According to experts, asthma is a lung disease and can be life-threatening if not treated timely. It is a chronic or long-term disease which can affect the rest of your life.

Dr R.S.Sibia, secretary of the district unit of the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP), said that 12 per cent of the total population, mainly children, of the city, were suffering from asthma. He admitted that there had been an increase in asthma among children in the past few years. Asthma caused breathing problems. The airways in the lungs got blocked, causing the lungs to get less air than normal. The symptoms included a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and wheezing. He warned, ‘‘Asthma can develop quickly and it can range from being mild discomfort to a life-threatening attack if breathing stops completely’’.

Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, president of the district unit of IAP said that these breathing problems were called asthma attacks or episodes of asthma. Due to the disease, the cells in the air tubes produced more mucus than normal. This thick and sticky mucus tended to clog up the tubes. The cells in the airways got inflamed as a result the air tubes swelled and the muscles around the air tubes tightened. Asthma could occur at any age but was more common in children than in adults. Dr Chawla added that local unit of IAP had recently organised a two-day workshop on ‘Protocols in bronchial asthma’ to discuss the causes, symptoms and precautions regarding the disease.

Various worldwide studies have revealed that it is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, accounting for over 10 million missed school days every year. ‘‘Children breathe more air, take more diet in proportion to their body weight than do adults. Their developing bodies may be more susceptible to environmental exposures than those of adults, so they may be exposed to wide array of environmental agents at home, in day-care centers, schools and while playing outdoors,’’ said Dr Chawla.

Dr O.N.Bhakoo, a retired paediatrician from PGI, Chandigarh and a visiting professor at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said that allergen and irritants were the two main triggers causing asthma. The indoor asthma triggers included secondhand smoke (cigarette), cockroaches, dust miles, molds, pets, other animals with fur or feathers. The irritants such as cold air, industrial chemicals, perfume, paint and gasoline fumes could also trigger asthma.

Dr Sibia suggested that parents should take necessary precautions for their asthmatic children. They should not smoke in presence of children, carpets should not be thick and dusty, the curtains should be thin and properly washed. ‘‘In case of attacks, the doctors should be immediately consulted,’’ said Dr Sibia.

Dr Sibia further added that these days doctors were recommending inhalers to the asthmatic children. ‘‘They are slightly expensive but have no side-effects. Through these inhalers, the drug directly goes to the lungs and these are more effective,’’ added Dr Sibia.



Team to study drug addiction in 6 states
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 2
Drug addiction is becoming common among youth and is crippling the society and robbing it of services of able-bodied man and women. Seeing the increase in the numbers of the drug addicts Dr Vivekanand Pandey and his team from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would conduct a study in six states of Punjab, Chandigarh, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan.

The team will assess the numbers of drug addicts and the addiction of various persons to different drugs. The work would be completed by July. The data collected would be analysed and the report would be submitted to the government which would formulate a nation-wide policy to tackle this menacing problem.

Dr Pandey said there were 34 drug de-addiction centres in Punjab and the team would randomly choose centres to conduct a survey to find ways and means used for de-addiction and the drugs used at these centres.

They visited Dr D.N. Kotnis Acupuncture Hospital at Salem Tabri in this connection.

Dr Inderjit, who runs the centre, said that the hospital was named after Dr D.N. Kotnis who went to China in 1932. He said, 'Our hospital is the only one that uses acupuncture for de-addiction, along with allopathic medicines, successfully,’’. They had achieved 80 per cent success rate in treatment.

Dr Pandey said that after talking to some patients, he found out that this alternative therapy seemed to be working. Dr Inderjit said that it was alarming to note that from poppy husk, the youth were shifting to smack which besides being very expensive was much more addictive.

The hospital had 50 beds. Blood tests were conducted on all patients to find out if any patient was suffering from Aids or hepatitis-B. Then medicines were administered which reduced the withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, nausea, sleeplessness, loose stools, convulsions and spasmodic pain. It was followed by application of acupressure twice daily.

Individual counselling was also done which played an important role. A psychiatrist was also at the hospital who tried to find reasons for youth taking to drugs.

A medical officer looked after the physical well-being of the patients. In the evening the patients were made to exercise. All treatment was given free of cost but the patients had to pay for their own food. Dr Inderjit said, ‘‘Volunteers are needed to supervise the food of the patients. Funds are needed too as some destitute patients cannot buy their own food. Ideally their food should be protein rich, but most of them do not have funds’’.

Religious bodies could help by speaking against addiction. Even the media, especially electronic media, could help by highlighting problems associated with the menace of drug addiction and ban those ads which glorified liquor and associated it with success.

Various patients were addicted to opium, smack, capsules but were on way to recovery after 10 to 20 days of treatment. Most of them said that they took to drugs because they were in the company that pressurised them to take to drugs. One of them said that he stole money and gold ornaments to satisfy his drug needs. Once recovered these patients vow never to touch drugs again. 



IMA flays guidelines for doctors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 2
The Ludhiana chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has condemned the guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry keeping a check on the working of medical practitioners in private and government sector.

As per the guidelines issued by Mr C.P. Thakur, Union Health Minister, doctors have been asked to display the fee for various tests besides consultation fee. Display of registration number has also become compulsory. The guidelines further add that registration of doctor will be cancelled if he or she is found absent more than twice by an inspection team. 



PNB plans hockey academy
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, May 2
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has decided to establish a hockey academy with the aim of helping talented youngsters to become quality players without sacrificing their educational career, this was told by Mr S.S. Kohli, chairman and managing director of Punjab National Bank in a press release issued here today.

The proposal is to ensure that the selected persons pursue their study, but, at the same time, practise hockey under the guidance of an able coach and become good players. After the initial training of two to three years, the players will be absorbed in the PNB team. The academy, to begin with, will have about 22 players who may be studying in Classes VIII to X. The selection of such players will be made by a panel. The bank will pay a stipend to each player for a period of three years. The academy will also bear all the expenditure, including board, lodging, sports equipment, kit, medical consultant, etc.

The bank proposed to have the services of Mr Ajit Pal Singh, Arjuna awardee, as chief adviser.


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