Air pollution: cases of bronchitis on the rise; all about the condition, tips for managing | Health

Air pollution: cases of bronchitis on the rise;  all about the condition, tips for managing |  Health

Bronchitis cases have been on the rise Delhi-NCR and neighboring cities as air quality has plummeted to ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ amid harsh weather conditions, stubble burning and post-Diwali pollution. A survey by a community social media platform finds that 4 out of 5 families in Delhi and adjoining areas have someone facing one or more ailments due to polluted air. As air pollution continues to wreak havoc on our health, staying indoors, avoiding morning walks, getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumonia, wearing N95 mask while being adventurous could help reduce the adverse effects of air pollution. (Also read: Air pollution: 5 harmful effects of toxic smog on your health

What is bronchitis?

Dr. Gurmeet Singh Chabbra, Director of Pulmonology, Marengo QRG Hospital, Faridabad, says that bronchitis refers to an inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the bronchi (airways in the lungs) that carry air to and from the lungs. .

Dr. Chabbra says that bronchitis is caused by a virus, bacteria, or irritating particles that trigger inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Smoking is considered a key risk factor, but non-smokers can also be affected by bronchitis.

How air pollution causes bronchitis

“The temperature has started to drop. Smog is a type of air pollution, originally named after the mixture of smoke and fog in the air. In the Delhi-NCR region, stubble burning is one of the main factors that contribute to the formation of smog Can inflame the breathing passages, decreasing the working capacity of the lungs and causing shortness of breath, pain when taking a deep breath, wheezing and coughing Can dry out the protective membranes of the nose and throat and interfere with the body’s ability to fight infection, increasing susceptibility to disease.” says Dr. Chabbra.

symptoms of bronchitis

People with bronchitis often have a persistent cough that produces thick, discolored mucus. Symptoms such as dry cough, wheezing, chest pain, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, body aches, chest discomfort, fatigue, and shortness of breath may also appear.

who is at risk

“People who smoke, are obese, have asthma, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or other respiratory conditions, a history of recurrent respiratory infections in childhood, have an autoimmune disorder, or other diseases that cause inflammation of the airways are more susceptible to a bout of bronchitis or bronchitis-like symptoms,” says Dr. Chabbra.

post covid

Post-Covid patients who have had severe Covid pneumonia in the past have susceptible lungs and are prone to bronchitis-like symptoms following a respiratory infection or exposure to air pollution.

Dr. Chabbra also explains how to diagnose and treat bronchitis.

Diagnosis of bronchitis

– To diagnose bronchitis, a doctor may recommend that you undergo a chest X-ray, blood tests, nasal swab, sputum tests, and pulmonary function tests. Chest x-ray helps detect pneumonia.

– Sputum tests are done to determine signs of allergies or infection.

– Pulmonary function tests check for signs of asthma or COOD.

– The nasal swab test is done for viruses, such as Covid-19 or the flu.


– Influenza bronchitis can be treated with antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids and other drugs.

– Cough suppressants can help with a persistent cough. If you have COPD or asthma, additional medications such as mucolytics or breathing treatments such as inhaled bronchodilators or steroids may be recommended. Antibiotics may be required.

– Milder cases of acute bronchitis usually get better on their own in a couple of weeks. Symptomatic or disease-specific treatment may be required, for which specialist consultation is recommended.

– Severe cases may require admission, oxygen therapy or ICU stay.

– BiPAP/NIV therapy may be recommended to patients and, in critical situations, mechanical ventilation may be necessary.

Things to keep in mind to minimize the risk of bronchitis

Dr. Chabbra also suggests tips for avoiding bronchitis that include maintaining good air quality at home and wearing masks when you go out.

– Stay inside, keep doors and windows closed

– Maintain good hydration.

– Avoid walks first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon, since during these cold hours the air is very dense and suspended particles are deposited.

– The use of a well-fitting mask or an N95 mask can be useful in case you venture outside the house.

– Avoid or limit smoking if you do.

– Those who take inhaled medications for COPD (emphysema and chronic bronchitis) or bronchial asthma should take their medications regularly.

– Keep away from fumes, air pollution or second hand smoke

– Wash your hands frequently

– See your doctor and get vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia (pneumococcal vaccine). Those who have not yet received the Covid vaccine should take the vaccine as recommended by the treating doctor.

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