Whether you’re indoor or outdoor, winters will exacerbate asthma attacks. Winter can be unpleasant for patients with lung diseases. The American Lung Association fact sheet states that asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders and currently affecting about 7.1 million children under 18 years. The World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that 13.8 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are lost yearly due to asthma, representing 1.8 per cent of the total global disease burden. For 300 million people around the globe suffering from asthma, cold winter months often lead to a worsening of their symptoms.
As stated by the experts, it is caused by the increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli which is a common perception of asthma, a reversible obstructive lung disease. The cold environment is not suitable for the asthma patients and it is at the risk of the high virus. The lungs and the airway passages of the asthmatic patient are quite sensitive.
According to experts, “To larger extent asthma symptoms related to cold winters can be in controlled and managed by the precise treatment and medications”. Due to swelling in the lining of the airways which leads to narrowing of the airways and sticky mucus or phlegm build-up that blocks the airways, breathing is difficult and forced for asthmatic patients. During winters, the cold air causes airways to tighten further, making it even more difficult to breathe.
Inhalation Therapy and Misconceptions with it –
Many patients and their family members are misinformed about asthma causes and its treatment options available. Asthma is a hereditary and communicable disease. There are many treatments available to treat asthma-like fish therapy, alternative medicines, and yoga to prevent an asthma attack. Also, it can be prevented by avoiding triggers, inhalers are the last resort- these are common myths with asthma patients. It is a necessity to educate the patients and caregivers by the healthcare practitioners about the disease, treatments with the minimal side-effect of inhaled corticosteroids, i.e. Inhalation Therapy.
Dr R Sridhar, Consultant Pediatrician, Stanley Medical College says, “There is definitely seasonal variation in asthmatics. Even if they are on inhalers and oral medications regularly, they do get some exacerbation during rainy / winter seasons, or maybe virus triggered. There is definitely an increase in Asthma patients during monsoon. Maybe 5 - 10 per cent. When Chennai faced floods there was a boom in the disease. The age demographics of the patients affected by asthma are 10- 20 yrs and also after 50 years specially the women.”
The steroid is produced by the human body naturally to deal with inflammation and, they are safe for children and pregnant women. The inhalation therapy consists of an inhaler pump to access the corticosteroids into airway passage. It’s often that word steroids evoke apprehensions in the minds of patients causing them to shy away from inhalers.
Inhalers to let you breathe-free in winters –
According to a research article published in Respiratory Medicine, the correlation between inhalation therapy for asthma and clinical efficacy is positive, with improved symptom control and lung function shown in most studies of adults, adolescents and children.
“Seasonal variations usually increases the effects of Asthma in children which becomes even more during rainy season due to the viral infection that triggers wheezing more frequently than any other season. One should not forget that the dry humid weather may also be a trigger in some vulnerable children. There is an increase of 20-30 per cent of patients (Children) in monsoons. This year in Chennai, we have seen a fall in the number of patients which is primarily due to the late arrival of monsoon in the city. Usually, the Asthma cases rise during the months of September to December. However, the incidence of asthma patients was less last year was not due to seasonal variations alone. We can see that awareness of Asthma is increasing in public. Under the age group of 5 children are more vulnerable to wheezing. Parents also seek medical advice during this period," explains Dr A Balachandar, Pulmonologist, ABC Clinic.
The Inhalation therapy corticosteroids reach directly in the body, that amount of steroid needs to be administered which is necessary to control the symptoms. As compared to oral medication which first gets dissolved in the blood and then reaches to various organs, including lungs.
So, inhalation therapy is a simple and easy solution for asthma patients to enjoy their winters to the fullest....