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Air Pollution Spreading Silent Pandemic Asthma



How to stay prepared for an asthma emergency

Asthma is a chronic sometimes debilitating condition that has no cure. When it strikes your airways become constricted and swollen, filling with mucus. Your chest feels tight, you may cough or wheeze and you don’t seem to catch your breath. In severe cases, asthma attacks can be deadly. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time. Understanding what triggers asthma helps the sufferers to keep a check on them. Sometimes it may be as simple as avoiding dust, tobacco smoke, and cockroach droppings.

But what if the air outside your home is filled with asthma triggers?

In recent year’s scientists have shown that air pollution from cars, factories, and power plants is a major cause of asthma attacks. The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution.

What is air pollution and what are the pollutants triggering asthma?

Air pollution is the introduction into the atmosphere of the chemicals, particulates, and biological materials that cause discomfort, disease, or death to the human and other living organisms on this earth.

Air pollutants that trigger asthma:

Ground-level ozone

Ground-level ozone is a problem in big cities with lots of traffic. A toxic component of the smog, ozone triggers asthma and makes existing asthma worse. It may also lead to the development of asthma in children. Ozone is produced at ground level when tailpipe pollution from cars and trucks reacts with oxygen and sunlight.

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

A respiratory irritant associated with the onset of asthma attacks, sulfur dioxide is produced when coal and crude oil are burned. Coal-fired power plants, particularly older plants that burn coal without SO2 pollution controls, are the worst SO2 polluters.

Particulate Matter

This term refers to a wide range of pollutants as dust, soot, fly ash, diesel exhaust particles, and wood smoke and sulfate aerosols. Some of these fine particles can become lodged in the lungs and could trigger asthma attacks. Coal-fired power plants, factories, and diesel vehicles are major sources of particulate pollution.

Nitrogen oxide (NOx)

A gas emitted from tailpipes and power plants, nitrogen oxide contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone and smog. It also reacts with other air pollutants to form small particles that can cause breathing difficulties, especially in people with asthma.

Any management or control?

If you have asthma, your doctor can help you design a plan to control and prevent asthma attacks. Limiting your exposure to air pollution can be an important part of that plan.

Seretide is a drug that helps to prevent attacks of breathlessness or asthma. Seretide contains two medicines – fluticasone and Salmeterol. Fluticasone belongs to a class of medicines called steroids that are used to help reduce inflammation. Salmeterol belongs to a class of medicines called long-acting beta-agonists that relax the air passages. Both ingredients in Seretide work together to help keep the airways open and make it easier to breathe.

You must use Seretide daily for it to work. Seretide will only prevent attacks of asthma if it is used regularly. You should continue to use Seretide even if you feel that your condition is under control.