Precautions for Asthma Patients in Monsoon Season
With monsoon just around the corner everyone is eagerly waiting for the rains to provide relief from the summer heat. However, Monsoon also brings with it certain unwelcome problems to many suffering from Asthma.
India Contributes to 11.1 % of the Global Asthma burden and accounts for over 42% of asthma related deaths. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the breathing tubes, and has symptoms of cough, wheeze, mucus and breathing difficulty.
Rainy season can cause flare-up of asthma due to exposure to many triggers present in this season:-
1) Humidity and Low temperature: Cold air and high humidity (more than 60% make it difficult for the asthmatics to breath air. High humidity traps dust, smoke and pollen in the stagnant air.
2) Fungus on the dump walls:
- When humidity is high and air is stagnant, fungus grows on the damp walls in the house, particularly in the washrooms and kitchen areas.
- Fungus can trigger asthma and cause other respiratory problem
- Rainy season is the time when maximum pollen is shed and trapped in the air.
- Having indoor plants during this time can cause more asthma attacks.
4) Furry Pets:
- The dust mites present on the pets can trigger asthmas
- During rainy season, increased time spent indoors can increase the risk of exposure to dust mites.
5) Common Cold / Flu:
- Exposure to viruses causing the common cold or Flu can cause severe Asthma attacks, more so in the elderly.
- Exposure to traffic pollution when air quality is low is dangerous to asthmatics
- Indoor air pollution is equally dangerous caused by burning of the wood / mosquito coils / incense sticks
Ways to reduce the risk of Asthma attacks during rainy season:
- When it is very humid, turn on A/C and keep windows closed. At night when temperature and humidity are less windows can be kept open for fresh air.
- Avoid going outside when humidity is high and air quality is poor
- Drink lots of water and wear loose clothing when going outside.
- Avoid dampness on the walls, dry the wet items within 24 to 48 hours and fix water leaks.
- Scrub off the fungus on the walls with detergent and water and let it dry.
- Run bathroom exhaust fan when having shower
- Let sunlight in and ensure good cross ventilation
- Avoid indoor plants (keep them outside) particularly in the bedroom during rainy season
- Restrict pets to one particular area and do not allow them in the bedroom, Trimming the fur of the pets is not helpful
- Avoid exposure to common cold or flu
- Wash rugs | bed sheets | Pillow covers with warm water to remove dust mites.
- Use asthma medicines regularly.
- Always carry rescue inhaler with you when going outside
- Watch for signs of Asthma Attack: Cough, Wheezing and breathing difficulty, Inability to complete talking a sentence is a sign of severe attack in which case rush to the emergency room
- Consult your Pulmonologist for regular checks. Keep your asthma under control with these precautions for worry free monsoon.
Dr Nalini Nagalla
MBBS, MD (Respiratory Medicine)
Senior Consultant Pulmonologist