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Posted at: Sep 13, 2018, 2:26 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2018, 2:26 AM (IST)

6% schoolchildren in city asthmatic

PGI-Global Asthma Network study shows figure has doubled in 10 years

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12

Showing a two-fold increase in 10 years, 6 per cent schoolchildren in Chandigarh are suffering from asthma, reveals a just-concluded collaborative study conducted by the PGI and Global Asthma Network. 

The study was conducted on 6,000 students, selected randomly, of rural and urban areas of Chandigarh. It included both government and private schoolchildren in the age group of six to seven and 13 to 14 years. Of them, 6 per cent are suffering from asthma, said Dr Meenu Singh, Professor, Paediatric Medicine, Advanced Paediatric Centre, PGI.

“The last study in this regard was conducted in 2006 by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) and by the PGI in 2008. In those studies, the prevalence of asthma among schoolchildren was found between 3 and 4 per cent. In 10 years, it has now doubled to 6 per cent,” said the Professor. Global Asthma Network earlier used to be known as ISAAC.

“Prime prevention is must to curb such cases. It should be ensured there is no allergic atmosphere for a pregnant woman. Even if the child gets asthma, it should be effectively treated,” Dr Meenu Singh said. Prime reasons include taking paracetamol and other antibiotic at a small age, change in lifestyle, increasing obesity, living in artificial environment (always in AC), polythene use and cats and dogs inside the house.

“It is broadly accepted that little or no adherence to the right treatment is a widespread issue among children in Chandigarh that is associated with poor health outcomes, resulting in unscheduled doctor visits and hospitalisation. Inhalers are the best form of treatment as they deliver the medication directly to the lungs thereby requiring 20 times less dosage as compared to oral medication. They hence have the least amount of side effects,” said Dr Meenu Singh.

No. of patients at PGI double

The number of children suffering from asthma have doubled at the PGI in the past 10 years. A weekly asthma clinic for children, which was set up in 1974, on Tuesday receives 100 patients. A few years ago, there used to be about 50 such patients. Besides, 15-20 patients come to the OPD and eight to 10 cases of asthma in children are reported at the emergency.

The reasons

Prime reasons include taking paracetamol and other antibiotics at a young age, change in lifestyle, increasing obesity, living in artificial environment (always in AC), polythene use and cats and dogs inside the house.

Study conducted on 6,000 students

The study was conducted on 6,000 students, selected randomly, of rural and urban areas of Chandigarh. It included both government and private schoolchildren in the age group of six to seven and 13 to 14 years. Of them, 6 per cent were found suffering from asthma. 

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