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It is that time of the year when people soak themselves completely in the spirit of festivities and may fail to exercise caution when it comes to tackling respiratory diseases like asthma, lung fibrosis, allergic rhinitis and bronchitis. It is also the time when Diwali pollution raises its ugly head and leads to many health troubles. However, precaution is always better than treating the flare-ups of these disorders.
Steps must be taken to limit one’s exposure to pollutants and it is best for people with respiratory conditions or asthma to stay indoors as far as possible.
Wearing N95 masks in case of stepping outside could prevent toxic smoke from entering the nose. Apart from medication, nebulization could also be given to children suffering from respiratory troubles post consultation with their doctors.
People suffering from asthma must also keep the inhaler handy and avoid involving themselves in Diwali cleaning or inhaling fresh paint smell.
Dr Harish Chafle, Senior Consultant – Pulmonology and Critical Care at Global Hospitals suggests the following tips for asthma patients to deal with Diwali pollution:
“Air pollution in the ambient air inside home as well as outside home causes a wide array of health problems, including asthma, lung disease, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Increase in air pollution levels can result in a number of symptoms such as constant cough, breathing difficulty, eye burns, running nose, skin allergy and rashes,” says Dr Chafle.
People with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, and breathing problems must stay indoors and limit their exposure to smoke as far as possible. They should also take medications as directed by their respiratory physicians prior to prolonged exposure to fumes and smoke. “It is advisable to seek immediate medical help in case of extreme breathlessness which doesn’t come under control. One should not wait too much for the symptoms to progress to a serious form before seeking medical help. Always remember ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.
If you are planning to burst crackers, always wear protective eye gear to help prevent entry of particles into the eye and irritation by fumes. Also wear N95 mask so that fumes don’t enter nose and cause irritation which can precipitate an asthma attack very easily.
Prepare in advance if your child is prone to any breathing ailments like asthma, which can get aggravated during this time, then check if the paediatrician recommends increasing the dosage of the medication. Consider nebulization, too, after consulting your paediatrician if in case required, says Dr Chafle.
“Pay attention to the hygiene by asking your child to wash the hands frequently with soap and water and gently wash eyes. Ask the child to blow the nose if he or she is feeling any sort of irritation.
Avoid going outdoors in high pollution times during this time. Evenings are generally a time when the air is highly polluted, so avoid taking your child outdoors. Instead, plan play dates for them indoors in safe environment.
In an attempt to get ready for this festive season almost everyone cleans their house before Diwali. All those having respiratory illness or allergies, however, must stay away from the house-cleaning process, as dust can trigger breathing problems and can very easily trigger an asthma attack. “Also stay away from fresh painting smell as it is another thing done to help look our homes new in this festival which proves dangerous for asthmatics,” says Dr Chafle.
Go easy on food as overeating is very common during Diwali, which in itself is a harmful habit. However, binge eating and eating oily food can pose a greater threat to asthma patients. “Avoid overeating and include a balance of fruits and vegetables to reduce the possibility of a sudden asthma attack,” says the doctor.
Keep the inhaler always near you as apart from maintaining the regular dosage of asthma medicines, it can be useful in decreasing the chances of getting an asthma attack.