Oxygen therapy in high demand amid air pollution in Delhi-NCR

New Delhi [India], Nov 5 (ANI): With air quality in Delhi and NCR dipping to alarming levels, health experts are saying that the demand for a new kind of therapy, called Oxygen therapy or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), has shot up among a large number of patients with respiratory problems across the city.

In HBOT, people are made to breathe pure oxygen in a pressurized room, allowing oxygen to diffuse more effectively in the blood, which repairs the tissue and restores its normal functions.

"Breathing pure oxygen at a pressure three times higher than the atmospheric pressure allows the lungs to gather more oxygen and send it to all parts of the body through blood. Oxygen-rich blood helps fight infections and triggers stem cells that stimulate and sustain healing," Dr Alok Chopra, Medical Director at Daivam Wellness, told ANI on Tuesday.

He said that HBOT is coming up as an alternative for Delhiites, who cannot spare time to go to a cleaner environment but still want to keep themselves healthy and safe amid the "extreme conditions".

Explaining the benefits of HBOT in high pollution areas Dr Chopra said: "Since HBOT improves immunity and boosts the healing process, it also helps people with compromised immunity to deal with the effects of high pollution. However, it is important to know here that HBOT is a therapeutic procedure and should always be taken under medical supervision and guidance."

HBOT can be a valuable adjunct therapy for a wide range of medical conditions, including allergies, heat stroke, cancer, Parkinson's, depression, asthma, AIDS/HIV, Autism, spinal cord injury, Hepatitis, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine, sports injury, arthritis, brain injury, heart diseases, stroke, multiple sclerosis and diabetic wounds that are not healing properly.

The role of HBOT to counter the health hazards of pollution is a rather new concept. However, since people in Delhi and NCR are breathing in air of extremely poor quality, HBOT appears to be a significant line of treatment for many at this time.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning and decompression sickness are among the most specific conditions where HBOT is almost always suggested. People who spend a lot of time in traffic or near automobile fumes are especially prone to develop such conditions and should consider HBOT as an important preventive measure," Dr Chopra said.

Delhi is already witnessing a 'Public Health Emergency' with hundreds of patients with respiratory problems being shifted to intensive care units (ICUs) by their pulmonologists because the air in the general ward is posing danger to their health.

Dr Vikas Maurya, who is head of pulmonary medicine department at Fortis Hospital, said: "Patients in ICU have shot up by at least three folds. We have admitted a lot of patients in ICU as they are more vulnerable in general ward. People with pre-existing respiratory diseases are at major risk. Children, the elderly, pregnant women are more vulnerable. If this crisis of air pollution continues, ICU beds with fall short very soon. We need solid sustainable management by the government to tackle air pollution. This is a deadly situation." (ANI)