“The number of people coming into our emergency room suffering heart attacks has roughly doubled since Friday when the air pollution became really severe,” Ding Rongjing, deputy head of cardiology at Peking University People’s Hospital said in a telephone interview yesterday.
The smog is taking a particular toll on the capital’s youngest residents, the South China Morning Post found Sunday:
Beijing Children’s Hospital said heavy pollution was largely to blame for the number of children being treated for respiratory ailments hitting a five-year high in the past week, with more than 7,000 patients a day.
By the following day, the hospital’s intake had surged to 10,000 patients, according to Xinhua, with 30 percent being treated for respiratory illnesses. An average 800 children have been treated with nebulizers daily, up to 900 on Saturday, the China Daily reported.
The Beijing Children’s Hospital is not alone in struggling to cope with an influx of smog-related illnesses, the Financial Times found:
At one hospital on the edge of Beijing the head nurse, who asked not to be named, told the FT that the respiratory ward was overflowing throughout the weekend even though the hospital had doubled the size of its respiratory unit last year.
Meanwhile, citizens in Beijing and elsewhere are taking steps to protect themselves. Online shopping giants Taobao and Tmall reported to have sold 500,000 face masks over the weekend, with 140,000 purchased by Beijing residents alone.