Pune: City doctors cite elevated pollen levels during rainy season as cause for reported rise in asthma cases. They have also observed aggravated symptoms amongst existing asthma patients.
Doctors said rains raise chances of respiratory infection that could trigger an asthma attack. Bronchial asthma is a common respiratory problem during rainy season. Dampness due to constant rain, lack of sun rays, rise in humidity, virus, fungi, bacteria and dust mites thriving during the monsoon could cause asthma-like symptoms.
Dr Pankaj Jain, consultant pulmonologist and chest physician at Jehangir Hospital, said, “Influenza can be prevented with vaccination. Increase in humidity levels during rainy season contributes to mold growth, to which many asthma sufferers are allergic. The molds release particles into the air, which can be inhaled by asthmatic individuals and exacerbate their condition. The growth of certain plants and trees in monsoon increases pollen in the air. Inhaling the pollen can affect the airways of asthmatic individuals.”
Dr Jain said asthma patients should avoid exposure to common triggers and continue medication. “Avoid getting wet in the rain, check mould or fungus growth on and inside house and keep rooms properly ventilated,” he said.
Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. Mucus fills the airways, further reducing the amount of air that can pass through and these conditions can lead to life-threatening asthma attacks. Asthma may cause difficulty in breathing, chest pain, cough and wheezing.
Dr Mahavir Modi, chest physician at Ruby Hall Clinic, said that the asthma patients stable during the summer are coming with aggravated symptoms. “We are getting around 25 to 30 patients weekly. We are suggesting pneumonia and flu vaccine shot and medication. Most of the visiting patients are senior citizens,” he said.
Dr Nagnath Yempalay, civil surgeon at Pune district hospital, said, “Climate change is bad for asthma patients. The mold spores, pet animals, and rains are the main factors behind allergies leading to asthma. In many cases, patients who come with asthma attacks have an underlying condition of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or lung disease.”