Forget winters, City’s Poor Summer Air Quality Remains Dangerous for Asthma Patients
Air pollution levels during summers don’t get enough attention, despite the quality of air remaining very poor, causing high risk for Asthma patients.
Pollution levels remain unhealthy in April, with recent particulate matter (PM) 2.5level recording 272 in Gurgaon.
Doctor advices ways to prevent falling sick and becoming unwell for asthma patients
Air quality in summers is not much of a debate as it is in winters and the subject continues to be ignored in warmer regions. In recent years, with the advent of winters, along with smog and dropping temperatures, the poor quality of air garners much focus and limelight.
In Gurgaon, pollution levels remained poor at large the whole of April, despite the city warming up. For instance, particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels in the city air was recently recorded around 272, which is much higher than the accepted levels.
“There are absolutely no good air days in the city, and it is hurting asthma patients more. Although pollution in summers is not a much debated topic, but being the longest season, polluted summer air means prolonged exposure to toxic air which is dangerous for Asthma patients. The days are longer in summer, there is an increase in pollution caused by human activity, and vehicular emissions also increase on the roads”, Dr. Piyush Goel, Consultant-critical care, Columbia Asia Hospital, Patiala.
Research has time and again indicated that older people are more affected by vehicular pollution traffic and long-term exposure increases the risk for asthma hospitalization. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) patients are more susceptible to air pollution.
The same is true for kids and children, who have growing respiratory system and more vulnerable to pollution. Children are more active than adults and therefore their intake of air in to lungs is higher, as their lungs are not fully developed till late teens. Children’s ability to filter out or detoxify environmental agents and pollution is different. Also, in kids airway epitheliumis more permeable than in adults, which makes them more vulnerable to diseases. The airway epithelium is the first defense against respiratory viruses and pollutants.
But then why during summers asthma can affect people adversely? “Other than factors mentioned earlier, heat and humidity can itself trigger asthma. The ozone gas levels are also on the rise in summers with more air conditioner, refrigerator, and vehicles in use, which is a major irritant to lungs. Another feature of summers is thunderstorms, which causes more allergies, triggering respiratory problems in Asthma patients. Along with air pollution, these factors contribute to worsen the case for asthma patients.” Dr. Piyush said
Asthma patients in Gurgaon need to take preventive measures to save themselves from getting affected by the polluted air and summer allergies.
· If pollution levels exceed over 200 mcg/m3, children, asthma patients and older adults should try and remain indoors.
· People should check the air quality index outside and wear quality air masks whenever the air quality is poor.
· It is important that indoor air is kept clean and pollution free.
· People should avoid venturing out during thunderstorm.
· Also, avoid staying out in the sun for longer duration, as heat of the day produces ozone gas.
· Join swimming if possible. It is one of the best exercises to increase respiratory capacity.
· Encourage kids to drink a lot of water during summers. Water keeps body hydrated and helps flushing out toxins from the system.
· Increase the intake of anti-oxidants rich diet which includes fruits and vegetables. They help in boosting vitamins in the body and its immune system.