Feeding pigeons? It can be fatal for you
July 11, 2024  16:42
A new case study of a boy, who developed potentially fatal allergic reactions after a prolonged contact with pigeon feathers and droppings, has brought to light severe health risks related to long-term exposure to the bird. 

 The 11-year-old from east Delhi was brought to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here with what initially seemed like a routine cough, doctors said in the study. His condition, however, worsened as his respiratory functions declined, they said in a statement. 

 The child was diagnosed with Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP), which was triggered by an allergic reaction to pigeon proteins, and required immediate medical attention, Dr Dhiren Gupta, Co-Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), said. Medical tests showed lung inflammation and opacities consistent with HP, he said. 

Opacities refer to areas appearing white on a chest radiograph, when they should be darker. Gupta explained that HP is a chronic interstitial lung disease, in which the organ gets scarred, making it difficult to breathe. 

The condition is more common among adults and rare in children, affecting 2-4 per one lakh population in a year, he added. The boy was administered steroids and provided breathing support via high-flow oxygen therapy, in which the gas is passed in the body through a tube placed in the nostrils.

 This helped bring down inflammation in his lungs and restore breathing to near-normal levels, the doctor said in the case study. Seeing the boy responding positively to treatment, he was eventually discharged with a comprehensive care plan to manage his condition, Gupta said.
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