Diwali woes for asthma patients

Diwali woes for asthma patients
Highlights

Diwali is supposed to be a time of joy and celebrations for all. However it is the same time when pollution levels in the capital hits the peak, making it a dreadful experience for the citizens.

Diwali is supposed to be a time of joy and celebrations for all. However it is the same time when pollution levels in the capital hits the peak, making it a dreadful experience for the citizens. According to experts, rise in the number of patients suffering from asthma and other respiratory disorders like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and allergic rhinitis shows a sharp upward trend during Diwali.

As per a study conducted to ascertain the impact of fireworks on respiratory health during Diwali, it was observed that bursting crackers aggravates the condition among people with asthma. The study found that it was harmful for even people with no prior respiratory ailments. It was observed that 31.2 per cent complained of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness during smoke emission of cracker burning.

Doctors in the city report to attend more than 20-25 patients with asthma who experience acute exaggeration around Diwali as compared to 10-15 patients on regular days, complaining of very bad cough and asthma flare-ups. Owing to lack of attention, improper management, and not using the correct mode of treatment, asthma turns into acute attacks at the time of Diwali.

Therefore, when the white veil of smog descends on cities during Diwali and the nip in the air spells disaster for people with asthma,it is important you take small precautionary steps and correct treatment modalities, such as inhalation therapy, so that you can enjoy the festival with all the joy it has to offer.

Inhaled corticosteroids, otherwise known as inhaled therapy, has been widely accepted as a more effective treatment for asthma compared to oral corticosteroids. Inhaled corticosteroids are inhaled directly into your lungs and in much lesser quantity (about 25-100 micrograms) than oral medications (about 10,000 micrograms).

Corticosteroids in inhalers are a copy of the steroids that are naturally produced by our body and are perfectly safe to use, even for children and pregnant women. Due to some misconceptions, some people are still using oral corticosteroids however the reality is just the opposite. In case of oral therapy, it is required in higher quantity since it first gets dissolved in the bloodstream and then via various organs, reaches the lungs.

As a result, it is absorbed in the parts where it is not required, leaving you at high risk of systemic adverse reactions, including loss of bone density, cataracts and high blood pressure. While through inhalation therapy, corticosteroids need to be administered in much lesser quantity as they directly reach the lungs to relieve the inflammation, thus limiting the risk of side effects.

Though we can do a little to control pollution and improve air quality this Diwali, people vulnerable to smoke and pollutants need to be take care of certain things. Try to avoid high smoke zones by staying indoor during peak pollution hours and keep your inhaler handy to counter any asthma attack or flare up. Most importantly, visit your doctor immediately if symptoms fail to subside.

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