Winters, respiratory illnesses, and air pollution – the trio of woes
Winters are a time for piping hot soups, sweetmeats, festivals and indulging in foods and drinks that we would otherwise stay away from due to their calorific value. After all, winters are the perfect time to sit in front of a bonfire and enjoy a drink or two with friends and family. However, for those suffering from respiratory illnesses, winters are also a time for exacerbations and distress. As weather in the northern plains of India transforms from being sunny and just about perfect to foggy and cold for at least two months, those with COPD, Asthma, Lung Cancer or other respiratory illnesses start to dread this season—for good reason.
Cold weather brings with it fog—which mixes up with urban pollution to transform into smog. This concoction of air pollution, exacerbated by smoke, particulate matter, dust, and fog becomes extremely hazardous for human health, especially if you have a respiratory disorder. Hospital and clinic OPDs are full of those suffering from throat irritation, blocked nasal passaged and inflamed airways, with doctors and nursing staff working on overdrive to help their patients feel better.
What are the pollutants that cause smog? How do they impact respiratory conditions?
Although there are dozens of pollutants that can cause smog and respiratory distress, the top culprits in this list include:
SO2—Sulfur dioxide or SO2 can irritate the lining of your lungs and exacerbate asthma and respiratory distress.
BS—Black Smoke or BS is full of pollutants such as tar and can cause major damage to your lungs, including coating the mucus membranes with tar—reducing their oxygen absorption and carrying capacity.
PM10—pollutants such as particulate matter that are larger than 10 microns can easily lodge in the lungs, building up gradually until they give rise to diseases such as COPD and also cause asthma exacerbations.
NO2—NO2 or nitrogen dioxide is a major contributor to respiratory diseases. NO2 makes lungs more susceptible to disease and infections and aggravates asthma.
How can you stay healthy when there’s smog?
There are many ways to stay healthy during the winter season. Here are the top 5 ways to ensure that you stay away from the wintery blues this year:
Believe it or not, drinking enough water goes a long way in ensuring that you stay healthy and happy during the winter season. Drinking water—especially warm water will help to ensure that your body is hydrated and can easily break down mucus in your clogged airways. Drinking enough water also helps to improve the efficacy of medication.
Avoid exercising outdoors
Exercising is a good way to stay healthy, but it is best to stay indoors and exercise at home when its smoggy outside. It is particularly dangerous to exercise outside, especially during mid-day when ground ozone levels are at their highest.
Laughter is the best medicine
Believe it or not, getting a good laugh helps to clear out your lungs. As your lungs expand, they get rid of the residual air and fill in fresh air, helping to keep you healthy and feeling better during these dreary days.
Smoking is possibly the worst thing you can do during this season—especially if you have respiratory problems such as COPD or lung cancer. Second-hand smoke is worse, so try staying away from those who smoke and dump the cancer stick while you can—it will only do you a world of good.
Wear a mask
Wearing a mask when you’re outdoors—especially an N95 mask will reduce the number of pollutants that enter your lungs, helping you breathe better and feel better throughout the winter. Ensure that your mask is clean and is washed every day if it is a reusable one. If you are using disposable masks, ensure that you do not reuse them.
Monitoring your health
Monitoring your respiratory health is as important as staying healthy. Using world-class diagnostic solutions such as Smart PeakFlow Meter can help to analyze your current lung health and help you to send relevant information to your doctor in time so you can get the best treatment possible.
Additionally, solutions such as ResApp can use cough sounds to diagnose any underlying respiratory problem you have, helping your doctor advise you the best course of action to help you feel better faster.
Staying healthier with Sanrai
If you already suffer from problems such as COPD, using a world-class stationary concentrator from Sanrai’s extensive range of products can help you breathe better 24/7. With products from Drive DeVilbiss, OxyFlow, Philips Respironics and other major oxygen concentrator manufacturers, you can rest assured that Sanrai has the best respiratory products to suit your exacting needs.
If you travel for work, then it is best to take your portable oxygen concentrator along during such weather. Sanrai’s extensive range of products from companies such as Inogen—including the Inogen One G5, Inogen One G4 and competing products from Drive DeVilbiss and Philips can help you meet your oxygen delivery needs on-the go.
With medical products distributors and manufacturers such as Sanrai by your side, you can rest assured that your oxygen delivery and diagnostic needs will be well taken care of. Sanrai’s world-class product portfolio will help to meet all your oxygen needs and give you the power to stay healthy—no matter what the conditions may be. Are you dreading the winter blues? Don’t worry. Contact your healthcare provider to get the best solution for your respiratory needs today.