“High temperature and increased humidity can cause inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult. This can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness,” he added.
In addition, hot weather also increases levels of air pollutants such as ozone, which can make asthma symptoms worse.
Hot weather causes asthma
In 2022, India experienced its hottest April and hottest March in 122 years. A recent study by the University of Cambridge found extreme weather on 242 out of 273 days between January and October 2022.).
The study also found that nearly 90 percent of India is in the “extremely cautious” or “dangerous” zone of heat wave impacts, with almost all of Delhi particularly vulnerable to severe heat wave impacts.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) last week predicted above-average temperatures and heat waves in the country till the end of May. States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal, East Uttar Pradesh, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Coastal Gujarat will experience “more than normal” heat wave days, it said.
To combat the effects of heat waves on asthma, it is important to take precautions to minimize exposure to triggers. Health experts have advised asthma sufferers to stay indoors during the hottest part of the day, usually between 11am and 3pm, and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
“To protect yourself, people with asthma should avoid exposure to extremes of heat and humidity, stay hydrated, and keep a rescue inhaler with you at all times. In addition, follow your asthma management plan and check in regularly with your health care provider,” Primus Super Specialty Hospital Lung and Sleep Chief Medical Officer Ambarish Joshi told IANS.
When outdoors, asthmatics should wear a mask or scarf over their mouth and nose to reduce their exposure to pollutants and hot, humid air. The expert suggested staying away from caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
- Asthma – (https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/asthma)
- Deadly heat waves challenge India’s sustainable development – (https://journals.plos.org/climate/article?id=10.1371/journal.pclm.0000156)