CLIMATE AND OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION
There is no doubt that climate plays an important role in inducing or exacerbating asthma and allergy symptoms. High humidity, sudden temperature changes (especially from warm to cold), and decreases in barometric pressure all have adverse effects on allergy and asthma sufferers. Damp conditions encourage the growth of mold and dust mites.
Families often are advised to move to a more favorable climate, if possible, although there is no hard evidence that such relocations help.
Smog is another factor over which we have little control. In warm, sunny climates (eg, Los Angeles), heavy traffic creates a smog composed mainly of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and petroleum-produced chemicals called hydrocarbons. Industrial cities produce their particular brand of smog. Whatever its composition, smog causes eye irritation, breathing problems, and fatigue as well as other symptoms.
The following are guidelines for coping with air pollution. They are especially relevant for asthmatics, who tend to be more adversely affected by air pollution and climatic changes.
7 Tips for Coping With Air Pollution
1. Stay indoors in a clean environment as much as
2. Use air conditioners, air filters, electrostatic furnace filters, or any other device that helps purify the air.
3. Avoid smoke-filled rooms and exposure to dust and other irritants, such as paint fumes, hair spray, and so on.
4. Avoid unnecessary physical activity.
5. If pollution is predicted to worsen and remain severe for a prolonged period, consider leaving the area if circumstances permit doing so.
6. Keep emergency telephone numbers handy in case of a medical emergency.
7. Have a face mask available. Pharmacists generally stock them.
The asthmatic is more sensitive to the outside environment. Climatic change, “the greenhouse effect,” and global air pollution are now being taken seriously by leaders all across the globe. We hope that, in the coming years, we will see responsible leadership in protecting our precious planet and its inhabitants.
Coping with Car Travel
Driving a car, especially with the windows open, exposes driver and occupant to numerous airborne irritants and allergens: pollen, asphalt, tar, fertilizers, car exhaust fumes—the list is long.
3 Easy Tips For Allergy Symptoms While Driving
1. Keep windows closed.
2. Use air conditioning at the optimal level.
Note: If you have air conditioning, have it serviced (and the ducts cleaned) before you use it after a long lay-off. Otherwise, you may be blasted with dust when you first turn it on. Check with the manufacturer or with your local auto service for a recommended schedule of servicing. Keep it mind the chemical used for air conditioning can also be an irritant, so it’s best to use it at a level that does the job of keeping the car cool, but should not be blasted at a level that irritates the throat.
Mold also can grow in auto air-conditioning units, so this is another good reason for regular servicing.
3. Keep the interior of your car clean: vacuum the carpets, wipe the seats, and so on. The same principles for dust prevention in your house apply to your car.
Filters are now available in many models of cars. You should ensure that you change your filter after the recommended number of miles driven.