Murky, dusty weather takes people’s breath away

The dust-filled air has also sent hundreds of patients to hospital emergency rooms around the country.

DR. PAVEL PASCHIANSKY (photo credit: Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)
(photo credit: Hillel Yaffe Medical Center)
The dust-filled air that has greatly reduced visibility in the last few days has also sent hundreds of patients to hospital emergency rooms around the country.
Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera reported on Wednesday dozens of children and adults coming to its emergency department since Tuesday complaining of breathing difficulties. Eight patients were sent to the wards with cases of moderate to serious respiratory problems.
One of those who was admitted was 80-year-old Peter Paschiansky, the father of the deputy director of the emergency department, Dr. Pavel Paschiansky. The octogenarian suffers from chronic respiratory problems that were worsened by the weather.
“I examined dozens of people with such complaints recently, but I never dreamed that I would have to treat my own father. We decided to hospitalize him and give him inhalation treatment,” the emergency physician said.
Dr. Jalal Ashkar, director of the emergency room in Hadera, said there was no doubt that the weather was to blame. “When muscles are stimulated by dust particles, they contract, causing the narrowing of the airways in the lungs. This also creates a cough and shortness of breath,” he explained.
“Adults who suffer from asthma and chronic respiratory disease, and of course children whose lungs are not well developed, suffer in such weather, and some come to us for treatment,” he said.
Dr. Adi Klein, head of the pediatrics department, said that of the dozens of children who arrived in the last few days, at least three became sick from the weather.
She stressed that when the air is very dusty, one should take notice whether a child over the age of one breathes more than 40 times a minute.
If so, go for medical diagnosis and treatment. If the child turns blue, is apathetic or less alert, then rush to the emergency room, Klein advised.
Conventional treatment is the use of an inhalation device to expand the bronchi to help restore regular breathing.
Ashkar and Klein advised that in such weather, people with lung diseases and weak immune systems, as well as children, babies, the elderly and pregnant women, should leave windows closed and stay at home until the dust lifts.