Yesterday, Delhiites got the opportunity to remain in their restful slumbers, opting to work from home, as they woke up to dense fog that made visibility significantly low. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, this visibility may remain below 50m due to extremely dense fog.
While this gloomier change might seem serenely surreal, it does bring along with the threat of asthma, and other respiratory diseases. The Association For The Care Of Asthma found that the average number of patients visiting the emergency department of hospitals for respiratory distress was much higher on misty or foggy nights.
Dense Fog Worsens Asthma Symptoms
“Fog can potentially worsen asthma symptoms due to several factors,” said Dr Samir Garde, Director, Department of Pulmonology and Lung Transplant, Global Hospitals, Parel, while talking to the team of OnlyMyHealth. This is worrisome for Indian residents because The Indian Study on Epidemiology of Asthma, Respiratory Symptoms and Chronic Bronchitis in Adults calculated the national burden of asthma to be at 17.23 million.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute explained that asthma is a long-term condition that affects the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. This makes the airways inflamed and narrowed, making it hard to breathe out.
Dr Garde added, “For individuals with asthma, exposure to fog can lead to increased respiratory irritation and difficulty breathing.” Explaining how this happens, he listed:
- Fog often contains high levels of moisture, which can serve as a medium for airborne irritants which can trigger asthma attacks or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions.
- The moisture in fog can also contribute to the growth of mould and other allergens, further intensifying respiratory challenges.
- Foggy conditions may lead to poor air quality as pollutants become trapped close to the ground.
Preventing The Impact Of Fog On Asthma
Dr Garde shared some ways that can help mitigate the impact of dense fog on asthma:
- Staying indoors during heavy fog and using air purifiers can help reduce exposure to airborne particles.
- Monitoring local air quality reports and using prescribed inhalers or medications as directed by healthcare providers are essential steps.
- Wearing masks designed to filter particles may provide additional protection when going outside.
- Individuals with asthma must consult their healthcare professionals for personalised advice on managing respiratory health during foggy conditions.
As heavy fog descends, it brings with it a set of challenges for people living with asthma. Understanding the connection between fog and asthma symptoms can help you take proactive measures for respiratory well-being. By staying vigilant asthma patients can navigate foggy conditions with greater ease.