Asthma & Air Pollution – What are the Effects?

Air pollution can make your asthma critical. Breathing in high levels of air pollution can cause wheezing, coughing, and other problems with breathing. If you have this respiratory infection, it is significant to stay away from places that have high levels of air pollutants, such as exhaust fumes or cigarette smoke. Moreover, the weather also affects the quality of outdoor air. Wind and weather can also carry pollutants. Therefore, if the air quality is bad in your neighborhood, it may also be bad at school or work. Stay inside on days when outdoor air quality is unhealthy. In addition, if you have asthma, learn about what makes your condition worse and what you can do to avoid triggers that may lead to attacks. Using medications and Ventolin evohaler on time is very crucial. 

What are the common types of air pollutants?

There are several different types of air pollutants, including carbon monoxide (CO), ozone, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Each pollutant has specific properties that determine how it affects your health and the environment.

How do air pollutants affect your health?

The pollutants you are most likely to encounter daily affect your heart and lung functions. Moreover, they can also induce asthma. Gasoline fumes, car exhaust, secondhand smoke, ozone, smog, and dust can aggravate your symptoms. If you have this respiratory disease, learn which pollutants trigger the symptoms and take steps to avoid them.

How do you know if your asthma is triggered by air pollution?

Many people who have asthma report that different pollutants affect them differently and that some pollutants seem to worsen their asthma symptoms. If you suspect that your disease is triggered by outdoor air quality, ask your doctor for a referral to an allergist who can test you for allergies and help diagnose the cause. As soon as your expert rules out the cause, he may begin with effective asthma treatment, such as medications and a Ventolin evohaler.

How do air pollutants affect your heart?

Ultimately, particles can cause your arteries to harden and blood pressure to rise over time. This condition increases your risk for stroke, heart attack, and coronary artery disease. Moreover, long-term exposure to air pollutants can increase your risk for lung diseases, such as emphysema and COPD.

What are the things you can do to get rid of pollutants in the air?

The best thing for everyone is to limit our exposure to pollution. You can also help reduce pollutants in your home or at work by following these tips-

  • Avoid using fireplaces except for special occasions (i.e., birthday parties). Wood smoke pollutes the air you breathe inside and outside your home.
  • Have your car tuned up regularly to keep emissions low, especially during cold winter months.
  • If you are pregnant, try to limit your time outdoors as much as possible during pollution peaks. It will reduce your exposure and ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your unborn baby. Wear a mask to reduce the chance of inhaling pollutants.
  • Switch to low-emission or non-polluting products, energy sources, and appliances, such as water heaters, furnaces, etc. Public utility companies are required by law to introduce new technologies that reduce air pollution. Contact your local public utility commission for more information about these technologies.
  • Try to eliminate smoky or dusty activities around your homes, such as wood-burning stoves, gas fireplaces, and cigar smoke. However, if your symptoms get worse, use Ventolin evohaler and rescue medications as soon as possible. 
  • Reduce the amount of time you spend driving by carpooling whenever possible.
  • If you can walk to places rather than drive, do it. If you ride a bike to work or school, make it a regular habit.
  • Consider public transportation options if available. They pollute less than cars. Moreover, many buses now run on alternative fuels, such as natural gas, propane, and electricity.
  • Plant trees in your community; it will increase oxygen in your area.
  • Install energy-efficient windows, doors, and air conditioners. They use less energy to heat or cool your home.

What can trigger an asthma attack other than air pollution?

When you have asthma, several factors can trigger an attack. These triggers include allergies to common indoor and outdoor allergens such as dust mites, cockroaches, mold spores, and pollen from grasses or trees. Moreover, this respiratory infection is also triggered by breathing in cold air during the winter months or eating spicy foods.

What exactly asthma is?

Asthma is a disease in which the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs) are irritated, swollen, and sometimes constricted. The symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest or throat. Viruses or allergies to things like pollen or pet dander can also cause it. However, asthma treatment, including Ventolin evohaler and medications, can lend you a hand in easing the symptoms.

Asthma can be mild, infrequent, or even be a serious condition, which requires daily medication and repeated trips to the experts. It is also associated with sleep disorders such as snoring or sleep apnea. Therefore, if you snore heavily, suffer from breathing problems at night, wake up exhausted no matter what time you went to bed, your doctor may recommend a sleep test.

The most common cause of asthma attacks is allergies, such as pollen or other irritants like smog and dust mites. However, sometimes there is not an obvious trigger. Many people with this disease can take control of their condition by avoiding known triggers and taking medication as prescribed. However, some people require regular medical treatment, and still, others cannot control their asthma without help from a nebulizer or other device.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

If you have asthma, you probably know what the symptoms are. The symptoms may consist of-

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing at hours of darkness or in the early morning hours
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Rapid breathing

These symptoms are usually worse when you have an infection or allergy flare-ups that affect your airways, for example, after exposure to secondhand smoke, pets, pollen, or very dusty conditions. As an asthmatic, you may have all of these symptoms or just some of them.

Some people do not have any symptoms at all. However, they can still have critical breathing problems. It is especially true for children and older adults who are often less aware that something is wrong. However, if they have symptoms, people who don’t get accurate treatment such as Ventolin evohaler, medications, or other rescue treatments can die from an attack.

What can help treat asthma?

Although asthma is a critical disorder, you can take control of it by avoiding your triggers and taking steps to manage your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend trying an over-the-counter inhaler if you have mild symptoms or if you do not have asthma medicines prescribed by your doctor. However, if you still have symptoms, one of the most effective ways to treat them is with a rescue inhaler, such as albuterol. It allows you to control your condition and help you feel better right away. Moreover, you can continue to live your life without feeling short of breath all the time. ​

There are several ways to treat asthma. The main goal of treatment is to control and prevent asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath. Treatments for asthma include-

  • Bronchodilators

These medications open airways. Inhaled beta-agonists and anticholinergic inhalers are some of these drugs.

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs

These medications reduce airway inflammation. They include inhaled steroids or mast cell stabilizers.

  • Rescue inhalers

Carry a rescue inhaler with you. This is a quick way to open up your airways in an emergency. If you regularly use a maintenance inhaled corticosteroid drug to control your asthma, you should have another rescue inhaler like Ventolin evohaler with different medicine. It is in case your usual medication does not work well.

What are the tips for the severe condition?

If you have severe or life-threatening asthma attacks, your doctor might prescribe oral prednisone or other medications for some time to help control symptoms.

If your symptoms are very frequent or you have significant difficulty breathing, using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device at night can help improve your asthma control and reduce the amount of medication needed. CPAP is the most effective treatment available for severe asthma.

The best way to manage your asthma is to work together with your doctor. Creating an asthma action plan is the first step in learning how to control your symptoms and prevent attacks. Your action plan should be tailored to fit your needs. It should include-

  • A list of all tablets you take, including OTC medications and other supplements
  • Triggers that can induce asthma and the ways to avoid them
  • A list of your symptoms and signs that tell you when to call or see your doctor.
  • Regular scheduled visits with your medical professional, such as a nurse practitioner, general practice physician, respiratory therapist, or asthma specialist

You should also review and record what controlled and uncontrolled triggers may have led to an asthma attack. It will help you recognize problem situations.

How can you prevent asthma?

When it comes to preventing asthma, you can do much. Along with taking the medications and using Ventolin evohaler, you need to implement some preventive measures to your lifestyle.

Preventing this respiratory infection means avoiding things that trigger your symptoms. Your allergist (person who makes money by giving shots) would like you to avoid these triggers as much as possible. Avoidance might not be possible for everyone. However, it is important to understand what your triggers are. Asthma triggers include-

  • Allergens like pollen, pet dander
  • Pollutants such as smoke, exhaust, other irritants
  • Viruses like colds, flu, other illnesses
  • Exercise (some people with asthma find they can’t exercise without triggering symptoms)
  • Respiratory infections like colds
  • Strong emotions (stress, anger, excitement)
  • Medications (aspirin or other drugs may cause worsening of symptoms in some people with asthma).

Talk to your allergist about how you can avoid asthma triggers. Moreover, you can also take steps to prevent asthma flare-ups.

Asthma flare-ups are scary and dangerous. Luckily, there are things you can do to help yourself feel better during a flare-up-

  • Inhale short bursts of medicine through your Ventolin evohaler

About every 4 hours, inhale 4 puffs through your inhaler. It helps prevent further inflammation of the airways, leading to a series of asthma attacks or a full-blown flare-up. Your allergist will give you information on how much medicine to use and what kind of medicine is best for you.

  • Drink water

When the body has a fever, it is significant to stay hydrated. If you have a fever and are unable to drink water, call your doctor or get to an emergency room immediately.

  • Use a cool-mist humidifier

When the air is dry, the mucus in the lungs tends to thicken and turn into a sticky substance that blocks airways. When the mucus is blocking airways, it is more difficult to breathe.

  • Use a saline nasal spray

Saline sprays can help keep your nose moist and may prevent sinus pain that comes with asthma inflammation. It might mean the difference between a good day and a tough one. You can get saline nasal sprays at some drug stores and most grocery stores.

  • Take Rest

Many asthma episodes occur at night when we are resting. Asthma attacks may wake us up and cause a restless night’s sleep. Stay in bed until you feel better, even if it means missing school or work the next day. However, if you cannot be in bed, try to stay in a well-ventilated room.

  • Call your doctor or get to an emergency room if you are having trouble breathing

Asthma attacks can become severe very quickly, even in people who use their medicine regularly. It is especially true for people who wait until they are short of breath to take their medicine. Always have the Ventolin evohaler with you in case of an emergency.

Remember, with a good asthma management plan (including avoiding triggers), most people with asthma should be able to live life to the fullest!