World Asthma Day 2024: How To Manage Asthma In Changing Weather And Pollution? Know Its Trigger and Treatment

The number of reported asthma cases has doubled in the past decade. The main culprits are environmental factors like outdoor air pollutants. All these years, most of the asthma exacerbation used to be from June to December. But lately, our OPD is filled with asthma patients, even during the summer months. The worsening AQI (air quality index) makes it even more difficult to manage these exacerbations. 

According to the 2022 Global Burden of Disease study, India has 34.3 million asthma patients, which is 13.09% of the global burden. The study also estimates that 70% of asthma patients in India are undiagnosed (also not reported) and India accounts for over 42% of all global asthma deaths.

Dr Anusha C M, Consultant – Respiratory Medicine, Manipal Hospital Malleshwaram says, “Asthma can affect all age groups, right from infancy to old age. It has a genetic predisposition, meaning you are more likely to develop asthma if any of your parents or relatives have asthma. Primary triggers include Pollens, House dust mites, pets, moulds over the walls, and indoor and outdoor air pollutants.”

“Asthma mainly involves smaller airways, which become inflamed and narrowed thus causing wheezing, cough, chest tightness, and difficulty in carrying out normal activities of life. Pulmonary function tests with post-bronchodilator reversibility can help diagnose asthma in patients. 

Asthma Treatment Plan is usually initiated in the form of ‘Inhalers’. As opposed to the myth, these are completely safe, not addictive, and need not be used lifelong. Since the inhalers directly reach the lungs, they are more effective than oral medications and also have fewer side effects. These inhalers help control the blood allergy levels and control the symptoms of Asthma,” says Dr Anusha.

Common Forms of Pollutants and How To Get Rid Of Them 

1. The most common allergen for Asthma is HDM (House Dust Mite), practically found everywhere, especially in your bedsheets, curtains, soft toys, and carpet. 

  • Soak the bedsheets regularly with hot water before giving them a wash – that helps to kill them. 
  • Get rid of the carpets and clean the soft toys regularly. 

2. The second most common allergen is Pollen, which gets flown away by the wind from trees and plants. One easy way to prevent this is to have a shower after you reach home and have a change of clothes – this helps to get rid of them.

3. Pets like cats and dogs can also cause allergies. Regular grooming, and washing them helps to keep allergies at bay. You can also use an Air purifier, especially with a HEPA filter inside your home, which improves the air quality, prevents drying of air, and prevents an Asthma attack.

Be in regular follow-ups with your doctor, ask for an ASTHMA TREATMENT PLAN, and know the proper inhaler technique so your ASTHMA can be well controlled.