Spring can be a tricky season with sensitive lungs, especially in a big city. Keeping these tips in mind will help you breathe easier during this season – and smell the roses.
Flowers blooming and birds singing – the springtime with its colours and smells brightens our days all across Europe. While this time of year is certainly a sight to behold, it can also be a difficult time for people living with asthma and COPD.
The combination of pollution caused by traffic, pollen particles, and the density of buildings in an urban area creates a real risk to your lung health. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to better manage your asthma while appreciating the greening world around you.
Before planning your outdoor activities, it’s a good idea to check on the air quality you’ll find in your area using an air quality index. By ranking cities across Europe, this index gives you an up-to-date idea on air pollution levels in your area.
The particles or gases in the air are not always visible, but they can leave lasting damage on your lungs if you inhale them. It’s worth considering how much time you spend outdoors when there is a very high level of pollution or pollen count in the air.
These airborne particles, whether they be from pollen or other pollutants, can likewise worsen your symptoms so on days when the index reveals poor air quality, you could try to avoid “pollution hot spots” in the city.
The London Air Quality Network writes that it might be a good idea to walk along side streets instead of heavily-congested roads, where traffic pollution is often higher. Also, while exercise often helps with your asthma, you may want to move your workout indoors during those days or shift your exercise to the morning hours.
If you can, try to get to know better what your allergies are, as some allergens, like birch are more prominent in spring while moulds are more prevalent in autumn. On high pollen count days, it’s important to use your medications to keep your allergies at bay.
Staying inside on high pollution days won’t do you any good if you keep the windows open or if the indoor air quality is poor. To prevent any asthma symptoms indoors, be sure that triggers like excessive mould, cleaning chemicals or wandering pollen particles are not keeping company on you.
Knowing your personal triggers will help you create an environment at your home that keeps your lungs healthy. It’s often worth taking extra care for removing or reducing those triggers and allergens whenever you can.
You can also bring the spring inside by getting indoor plants. They help to produce more oxygen that’s good for your lungs!
While greater efforts are being made to move towards cleaner cities, getting people out of their cars and into public transport in order to reduce pollution caused by traffic, in the meantime, it’s important to look after yourself.
It’s always wise to carry your reliever inhaler with you. But during the spring it’s even more important to pay careful attention when taking your preventive medication. And last but not least, there’s always an option to contact your doctor if you feel like you need an asthma medication boost to enjoy the blossoming springtime.
Text by Courtney Tenz
Photo by iStock
D’Amato, G., et. al, Allergenic pollen and pollen allergy in Europe. Allergy. March 2007. https://www.eaaci.org/attachments/663_Allergenic%20pollen%20and%20pollen%20allergy%20in%20Europe.pdf
Guarnieri, Michael, Balmes, John R. Outdoor air pollution and asthma. Lancet. May 3, 2014; 383(9928): 1581-1592. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465283/
Havet, Anais, et. al, Outdoor air pollution, exhaled 8-isoprostane and current asthma in adults: the EGEA study. European Respiratory Journal. April 2018; 51(4): 1702026 https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/51/4/1702036
Matsui, Elizabeth C., et. al, Asthma in the inner city and the indoor environment. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. August 2008; 28(3): 665-x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5516633/
The London Air Quality Network http://www.londonair.org.uk/LondonAir/guide/MyActionsForMe.aspx
World's Air Pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index: https://waqi.info
European Air Quality index: http://airindex.eea.europa.eu
Orion is a globally operating Finnish pharmaceutical company - a builder of well-being for more than 100 years. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients. Respiratory diseases is one of Orion’s core therapy areas. Easyhaler® is a dry-powder inhaler developed in-house. The Easyhaler® product family includes today six commonly used treatment options for asthma and COPD patients. Orion's net sales in 2017 amounted to EUR 1,085 million and the company had about 3,500 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.
As a forward-looking pharmaceutical company, Orion continues to invest in research and development of treatment options for people with asthma and COPD while also developing the design and usability of the inhaler. The focus is on safety and quality on each step of the product life cycle while taking care of the environment. Sustainability is entwined in the whole process from R&D through to manufacturing. It is also required of Orion’s providers. Orion is committed to keeping the best possible control of environmental impacts of their own factories by reducing energy consumption and impact of their wastewaters among others and is making a good progress. Orion works to ensure that suppliers have actions in place to control and reduce their own environmental impacts as well. All aspects of sustainability; social, economic and environmental, are carefully considered in the whole product life cycle including patient use and in disposing of old inhalers.