While the festivities of Diwali bring us a lot to celebrate, what it also brings with it are more concentrated levels of pollutants and particulate matter, such as those found in haze and smoke when fireworks are used. This rise in pollution along with the cold and dry air in the atmosphere due to the change in season, can irritate the airways and cause symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks. Excessive, continuous exposure to polluted air not only worsens pre-existing respiratory conditions leading to frequent asthma attacks and COPD flare-ups but also can lead to newer cases of asthma & COPD.
The alarming increase in pollution levels has been a major contributing factor to the rise in asthma cases worldwide. Air pollution, caused by the release of harmful chemicals and particles into the atmosphere from various sources such as industries, vehicles, and the burning of fossil fuels, has a significant impact on human health. These pollutants not only irritate the respiratory system but also damage the delicate tissues of the lungs, making them more susceptible to asthma attacks. The link between air pollution and asthma is well-established, with studies showing that exposure to high levels of pollutants can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms. Children and individuals living in urban areas with high levels of air pollution are particularly vulnerable to developing asthma.
Therefore, according to Dr Hemant Kalra, Pulmonologist, Maharaja Agrasain Super Speciality Chest Center, Delhi, as a first step, preventive measures should be followed like - ensuring that you can identify as well as avoid possible triggers, by staying indoors or wearing a face mask when stepping out. This should be combined with a ready action plan prepared in consultation with your doctor, an inhaler by your side –in the case of asthmatics and taking regular inhalation therapy as prescribed by your doctor. Additionally, a peak flow meter can also be used to monitor your lung health and manage your condition better.