PETALING JAYA: Clinics around the Klang Valley have seen up to a 40% increase in the number of patients with respiratory problems and other haze-related conditions.
A clinic in Sri Hartamas said most its patients complained of asthma attacks, breathing difficulties and watery eyes.
“Haze aggravates asthma,” said a doctor, who declined to be named. “We are also seeing more cases of cough and flu over the past one week, mostly among those who live in high-rise buildings,” he said.
The Federation of Private Medical Practitioner’s Association Malaysia said some clinics in Kuala Lumpur reported an increase of between 30% and 40% in respiratory complaints.
FPMPAM said children were the most affected with many suffering from bronchitis, asthma and influenza.
“The fine particles in the haze can get deep into the lungs and can enter the bloodstream to be absorbed by the underlying tissue,” said its deputy honorary secretary Dr G. Shanmuga-nathan.
“These can then interact with other compounds such as low density lipo-proteins to cause inflammation and diseases,” he added. “Symptoms can arise within one to three days of exposure to haze.”
These haze particles were particularly problematic in people with asthma, heart failure and lung diseases.
He advised “high-risk” people to stay indoors, drink more water and wear respirators, especially if they had to work outdoors.
Kumpulan Medic Petaling Jaya senior clinic assistant M. Parames said while it was normal to have more patients with respiratory problems during hazy periods, this year was worse.
“Many patients visited doctors from July 24 to 26 as they wanted to get medicine before going back to their hometowns,” she said.
Dr Rajiv Mohain Singh from a clinic in Ampang said many of his patients with asthma had suffered severe asthma attacks due to the haze.