Detrimental Effects Of Air Pollution On Asthma Patients

This article talks about how exposure to dust fumes from poor air quality can cause asthmatics numerous health issues.

Written by: Shivangi Sarkar Updated at: 2023-01-12 10:00

Most people with asthma and respiratory diseases with persistent breathing problems opt to stay indoors when pollution rises in the city especially NCR region where AQI is bad. Presently, fog and smoke are making it difficulty to breathe and continues to affect health. If you are asthmatic, you must read this article to know how exposure to dust fumes from poor air quality can trigger cough, stinging eyes, and shortness of breath.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can cause breathing problems throughout someone’s lifetime. When an individual has asthma they always have some swelling in the airways with or without any symptoms.

An asthma patient’s lungs react to things that may not bother a normal person. These are known as triggers, like dust, smoke, and pollen. The disease causes changes in the airways, making them narrow and causing difficulty in breathing. Asthma can cause three main changes in one’s lungs.

  • Swelling or inflammation
  • Production of extra mucus
  • Tightening of muscles
  • If asthma is left untreated, or poorly controlled, these changes to the structure of the airway may become permanent. 

When someone with asthma comes in contact with a trigger, like dust, smoke or even too much laughter, any one of the three changes can occur resulting in an asthma attack. 

Also Read: How Rapid Season Change Can Affect Asthmatics

What is the link between asthma and air pollution?

Air quality affects asthma patients largely whether indoors or outdoors. This can range from anything to environmental exposure, tobacco exposure or even car exhaust. Smog consisting of dust fumes and highly polluted toxins are common triggers for asthma patients. 

The 19 million people who live in the metropolitan area of Delhi have been strangled by the airborne particles and hazardous chemicals that make up the smog. At its worst, simply breathing the air has been the equivalent of smoking 50 cigarettes a day.

Air Quality Index

The air quality index is an air quality forecast that helps one to know how clean the air is by following a colour-coded scale. The higher the AQI, the higher the air pollution and potential for breathing problems. 

  • In New Delhi, the PM-2.5 concentration is 146 (g/m3). The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests a 24-hour mean PM-2.5 concentration of 15 g/m3. 
  • The concentration is 5.84 times higher than what is advised. It exceeds the WHO-recommended limit for 24-hour air quality criteria by 9.7 times.
  • This year, Delhi has recorded the lowest average air quality index of 344 in the last five years.

The poor quality in Delhi has not only affected asthma patients but also the residents of the capital in general.

Also Read: 5 Exercises To Cure Asthma And Breathing Problems

How to protect against air pollution?

A few steps that can be followed to protect oneself from lung damage and asthma patients from an attack as are follows:

  • Use a gas mask.
  • Use indoor air purifiers.
  • Avoid outdoor activities.
  • Stay hydrated.

Asthma patients shall try the aforesaid measures to minimise the effect of pollution on their health and well-being. 


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