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Climate change and Respiratory diseases

Dr. Sofia Salim Malik, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Allergy, Immunology & Sleep Consultant SUT Hospital, Pattom

Trachea and lungs are the most affected organs during climate change, so it is necessary to take precautions in adverse weather conditions especially among patients with lung disease. People with Allergy, Asthma, COPD, ILD and Bronchitis should pay special attention and care. Winter season adversely affects allergy sufferers. Breathing cold air can trigger asthma. So avoid travelling to places with low temperature. Keep allergy medications and doctor-prescribed inhalers handy for essential travel.

Asthma patients should take inhaler medicines exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Keep reliever medicines handy to take in case of emergency. Proper inhaler use can help prevent respiratory problems during winter season. People with COPD are more susceptible to colds and other respiratory infections during the winter. Therefore, COPD patients should take their inhaler medication exactly as prescribed by their doctor, just like asthma patients.

People who regularly exercise outdoors during winters often stop walking and jogging because of the cold. This can lead to increased metabolic demand and increased appetite in cold weather, resulting in weight gain. Weight gain always exacerbates lung problems and makes daily routine difficult. So continue to maintain a regular diet and exercise time according to the weather.

During winter season, the chances of spreading infectious diseases are high. Therefore, people with respiratory diseases should avoid standing in crowded places, take care to keep close contact with friends and relatives in well-ventilated rooms, and strictly continue to disinfect hands, practice social distancing, and use masks. Studies show that smoking and alcohol consumption increase during winter in Western countries. Avoid these habits and avoid contact with smokers.

A balanced diet can help boost immunity. Drinking the right amount of water is equally important. People with respiratory diseases should definitely get vaccinated against flu and pneumococcal bacteria. By following good habits, the life of people with respiratory diseases can be improved from the respiratory problems that may occur during the winter season.