Building a strong defence against asthma in Covid times

Asthma is the most serious ailment that emerges from lifestyle interventions and atmospheric pollution. Photo credit : Pixel-Shot /

Breathing or respiration has assumed an air of purpose in the Covid-era, where staying well is more or less associated with keeping your lungs healthy. Hence it is important to maintain good pulmonary function, for all, especially senior adults for they are at a higher risk of developing serious complications in case of any respiratory disease.


Asthma is the most serious ailment that emerges from lifestyle interventions and atmospheric pollution. Factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, dietary habits and atmospheric pollution have a direct bearing on the health of the lungs, and the disease worsens when they affect the course of the air passage. Asthma is the condition of shrinking of the lungs and subsequent fluid build-up disrupting the smooth passage of air in respiratory tract, and ultimately triggering shortage of breath.

Symptoms of asthma

» Chronic cough at night and early mornings

» Difficulty in breathing and chest tightness while inhalation

» Coarse whistling sound from chest while breathing in and out

» Runny nose accompanied by cough and sputum

Prevention and treatment

Asthma is not only the most commonly found ailment affecting the lungs but also a chronic disease that does not completely go away. Dust, smoke and cold weather are the prominent villains that trigger asthma attack.

» To minimise allergy risk, beddings and pillows can be hung out in the sun. Encase them in rexine covering and further seal it with good stitch and plaster tape.

» Avoid exposure to tobacco fumes

» Use a damp cloth to clean the wings of the ceiling fan once a week

» Stay away from pets such as dogs, cats and birds

» Avoid indoor combustion sources such as mosquito coil, other repellants and incense sticks, and perfumes

Do lung health checkup to diagnose Asthma

Asthma patients and those with breathing problems are advised to regularly monitor the performance of their lungs, just like people with high blood pressure constantly keep a watch on their BP levels. Even those who do not show symptoms can also check the health of their lungs through a pulmonary function test. Both private and government hospitals have the facility to conduct spirometry (pulmonary function test) to assess how well your lungs function. The effectiveness of the lungs is calculated by measuring the amount of air you inhale and exhale based on your age.

Prevalence of asthma high in cities

Though asthma has a genetic component as people with family history of allergy are likely to have it, lifestyle habits also trigger the allergens. Studies show asthma attacks are high in urban neighbourhoods and industrial areas

Inhaler therapy effective

The challenge in treating asthma is to effectively keep the disease under control, for which inhalation therapy has a proven track record. The method is cheap in the sense that the daily cost of inhaling the medicine amounts from Rs 4 to Rs 6. Unlike oral medication, inhalation can offer significant benefits with reduced risk of side effects due to its mild dose medicines. Inhaler medication involves inhaling via nebulizer, metered-dose inhaler, or dry powder inhaler. There are two types of inhalers - one that is used when the patient experiences shortage of breath and another to prevent heavy breathing.

Keep off from misconceptions

You may wonder a quick relief from an inhaler can make you get addicted to it. It is a wrong notion that inhalers should be administered as the last resort to avoid dependency. Inhaler therapy is the best treatment for asthma at any level of severity as the medicine directly acts on lungs, and nor is it harmful as it does not mix with blood and reach other organs of the body.

Is intake of pills more effective than inhalers?

No. Medication using an inhaler is the safest and cheapest mode of treatment. Moreover, inhaler allows bringing immediate result as the medicine goes directly into the affected area that is the lungs.

Is asthma a curable disease?

No. Despite the advancement of medical science, there is no complete cure for asthma. However, people can have near-complete control of symptoms by taking the help of effective medicines from treatment systems of allopathy, homoeopathy, ayurveda, or traditional fish therapy.

Asthma patients cannot lead a normal life.

False. A patient who seeks timely medical help can lead a normal life.

Is Asthma contagious?


Can asthma be fatal?

Yes. According to the latest data by World Health Organisation around 2.5 lakh people die of asthma every year.

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