<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Medical experts in the Capital have started witnessing a steep rise in the number of cases of asthma, lung infections and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).”In the last one week, the cases have gone up immensely. The numbers are on the higher side as compared to the last year. Also, the pollution levels have also gone up suddenly. The weather is dusty and people who already have a history of respiratory illness are having a tough time,” said Dr Raj Kumar, head of department, pulmonology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute.Experts have advised patients to take precautionary measures. “Newborns and elderly should stay alert and take preventive measures. The weather is going to be worse in next three to five days,” said Dr KK Sethi, Chairman and Managing Director of the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute.Air pollution is contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.”Carrying an inhaler has become a must in this weather. There is dust in the air which is also causing irritation in the throat,” said Rajbir Singh, resident of West Delhi.Singh was diagnosed with asthma three years back and since then Delhi’s high pollution level gives him a tough time every year.”One should cover their face while travelling. Even staying indoors is not safe as the suspended particles enter through windows,” says Dr JC Suri, HOD, Pulmonary Medicine at Safdarjung Hospital.