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Monsoon and Asthma

Dr Avdhesh Bansal

Asthma basics
There are three major features of asthma:

Airway obstruction
During normal breathing, the bands of muscle that surround the airways are relaxed, and air moves freely.

But in people with asthma, allergy-causing substances and environmental triggers make the bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten, and air cannot move freely. Less air causes a person to feel short of breath, and the air moving through the tightened airways causes a whistling sound known as wheezing. This airway narrowing is reversible, a feature that distinguishes asthma from other lung diseases such as bronchitis or emphysema.

People with asthma have red and swollen bronchial tubes contributing to increased tenacious secretions and narrowing of airways. This inflammation is thought to contribute greatly to the long-term damage that asthma can cause to the lungs. And, therefore, treating this inflammation is key to managing asthma in the long run

Airway irritability
The airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive. The airways tend to overreact and narrow due to even the slightest triggers such as pollen, dust, weather changes or fumes.

Common asthma triggers:

  • Infections such as viral infections, sinusitis, colds, and flu
  • Allergens such as pollens, mold spores, pet dander, and dust mites
  • Irritants such as strong odors from perfumes or cleaning solutions, and air pollution
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Exercise, in exercise-induced asthma
  • Weather; changes in temperature and/or humidity, cold air
  • Strong emotions such as anxiety, laughter or crying, stress
  • Medications, such as aspirin-sensitive asthma

Asthma in monsoon

Asthma in monsoon is a kind of allergic asthma, triggered by humidity as well as the presence of allergens, like pollens and molds, in the atmosphere. An allergy is the immune system's reaction when exposed to what is otherwise a harmless substance, such as plant pollen, mold or animal hair. The immune system normally acts as the body's defense; yet for people with allergies, the immune system treats these substances, called "allergens," as harmful, causing a series of reactions, including an attack of asthma.  Common inhaled allergens include: animal dander (hair), dust mites, mold and pollen. 

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