Effects Of The Indian Seasons On Asthma Patients
Although the autumn months bring in a breath of fresh air and the turning of green leaves- but autumn is also a month which shows a spike in asthma symptoms around us. Similarly, spring can also be a tough season for asthma patients, especially if they are suffering from pollen allergy. Summer heat waves are just another notorious weather like the other two for sending asthmatics, especially urban children to the hospital emergency room.
Now let’s ponder on this question as to why asthma symptoms seem to get worse with the turn of every season. Although it may seem confusing, but there are seriously some annual trends and reasons as to why asthma symptoms get worsened during particular months of the year.
For an example, in a recent research done in the year 2011at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi), which examined thousands of asthma hospitalization in India over a period of 12 years, it has been found severe asthma episodes tend to accelerate and reach its peak during the autumn months. That too, especially among the children. This study also revealed that a 10 degree rise in humidity and temperature (as it happens in summer and during the spring) can increase asthma symptoms in children substantially.
In fact, the truth is asthma symptoms can speed up any time of the year, for asthma triggers such as secondhand smoke, dander and exercise. But knowing new asthma triggers such as temperature, pollen, pollution, humidity and even certain viruses, can help people with asthma, to understand if they should be stepping up their necessary medications beforehand.
The Autumn months (October to November)
As the old adage goes “‘If you treat a cold, it lasts only about a week; if you ignore it, it lasts not more than seven days”- is not true for an asthmatic, says a leading doctor at AIIMS “Unless treated at the right time, the symptoms will go on sometimes for more than even a few nagging weeks.”
Actually the sudden gusts of Indian autumn air, which is cold at times, tend to tighten up the asthmatic lungs and so during the autumn months asthma symptoms rises to its peak.
Another main reason for autumn asthma is because these months are cold-and-flu seasons. For the kids, classrooms filled with grimy hands and running nose are often breeding grounds of cold and flu viruses, which these kids inevitably spread to the members in their family. It has been observed that people with asthma are more likely to catch virus infections than those without this malady. Chronic lung inflammation of asthma, leads to secondary respiratory infections like seasonal asthma cough, wheezing, difficulty in breathing which results in further chronic asthma attacks.
The Winter months (December to March)
Although autumn is considered as the peak asthma season, winter weather that descends on many parts of India in December, also pose to be a problem.
According to allergists and immunologists, cold and dry air when inhaled in large amount can aggravate asthma during the winter months.
So if the chill in the air, cold weather and asthma, is a trigger for you, wear a scarf around your face, which will help to keep you warm. If this trick does not work, special face masks with heat exchangers can also be helpful at times.
In extremely cold regions, like the hilly townships another irritant found indoors is the smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces. Using electric heaters is hence a better alternative for asthmatic patients during the wintery days.
The Summer/Pre-monsoon months (April to July)
Summer is one season in India and also all across the globe that provides some relief for asthma patients. Asthma episodes, according to allergists, tend to be the lowest during these months.
However, some asthma patients do react poorly to humidity, and so do horribly in very high humidity climates, which accelerates with poor air quality, especially in dense urban areas in the country. Air pollution related to traffic and sunlight most commonly combines to promote the production of ozone, which is a powerful asthma triggering agent that eventually leads to breathing problem and asthma attacks in children in the highly populated Indian metro cities.
Monsoon/Rainy months (July to September)
Thunderstorms- a fixture of the Indian monsoonal months is another trigger for asthma. The gusty humid winds accompanied by thunderstorms stir up fungal spores and molds, and as the rainwater breaks up pollen grains into a myriad microscopic pieces, this too spells trouble for asthmatic patients. Moreover, increased incidents of viral infections even aggravates the attack of asthma patients during these months.
So the only way to combat this disease is to take medicines regularly. Asthma patients should never skip even a single dose of medication that is prescribed by their doctors. Some asthmatic patients who are advised inhalers by their immunologists, must regularly take their prescribed inhalers to keep the airway open. It has been often noticed, that there are many asthmatic patients who are in a habit of haphazardly stopping and starting inhalers. This practice is not at all recommended and is considered extremely harmful and hence they must be stop this immediately.