How to Take Care of Asthma During Diwali
Diwali causes lots of pollution which could be hazardous for those suffering from asthma. Here's a list of few things which you can do to ensure you keep your asthma in control.
Although Diwali is an important festival in India, it can often prove to be hazardous for those suffering from asthma. Asthma is a condition caused due to inflammation of the lungs and affects the sensitivity of the nerve endings in the airways. During an attack, the lining of the airway passages swell and restrict the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Common symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing and tightness in the chest.
A 2010 study, that was conducted in Delhi during Diwali, showed that the level of particulate matter recorded was extremely high and was 6-12 times the WHO standard. Another study showed a near 4-fold increase in the levels of fine particles in Lucknow due to the bursting of firecrackers on Diwali. In addition, it has been found that the concentration of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air increases during the festival.
Due to the increased particulate matter, emissions and air pollution, which are predominantly caused by fireworks, it is essential to take certain precautions so as to not exacerbate asthma attacks.
Precautions To Take During Diwali
- Stay Indoors
During Diwali, avoid stepping outdoors as much as possible to protect yourself from the effects of firecrackers. Smoke inhalation and airborne particles can irritate the airways and trigger an asthma attack. In 2017, the day-long averages of particulate matter during Diwali reached 563 micrograms per cubic meter, far exceeding the India’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) of 60 micrograms per cubic meter. In the same year, the air quality index (AQI) average in Ahmedabad changed from ‘moderate – yellow’ to ‘very poor – red’ the night after Diwali. If you must step out, cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or mask. Limit your time outdoors in the evening as pollution levels are usually higher during those hours.
- Keep Your Inhalers With You At All Times
Controller inhalers can decrease the chances of having an asthma attack. Follow your prescription and take the advised dosage on a daily basis. Since there are many airborne triggers during Diwali, it is best to keep your reliever inhalers handy. These inhalers will deliver a targeted treatment directly to the airways, which will help alleviate your symptoms quickly.
- Avoid Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks such as wine and beer are known to trigger asthma attacks. Since your lungs are already exposed to a number of irritants during Diwali, avoid exacerbating the chances of an attack by cutting down on such beverages.
- Steer Clear Of Dust
It is a common practice for people to clean their houses before Diwali. Unfortunately, the cleaning process can stir up the dust mites and release them into the surrounding air. When such particles are inhaled in sensitised people, it can lead to an asthma attack and symptoms such as sneezing, cough and wheezing. Take care to stay out of a room when it is being vaccuumed or swept to avoid triggering an attack.
- Be Mindful About Your Food
Diwali is often taken as an occasion to binge on sweets and fried food. However, a high intake of refined grains, processed food and dessert can have an inflammatory effect on your body. Instead, opt for a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, which help reduce the risk of asthma, especially in children.