ISLAMABAD: A health expert has recommended media awareness campaign and timely precautions for asthma patients to avert the attack during thick smog.
Prof. Dr. Javaid A. Khan, a Pulmonologist and lungs Specialist, emphasized that around seven percent of Pakistan’s population suffers from asthma, and this number might see a surge of about 20 to 25 percent in the coming weeks.
Dr. Khan attributed the decreased lung function in asthmatics to rapid weather changes, especially the onset of cold weather. He urged citizens to follow a proper diet, wear face masks, and keep vehicle windows shut during journeys to reduce the risk of asthma attacks and other allergies in winter. While acknowledging that a permanent cure for asthma is currently unavailable, Dr. Javaid highlighted that proper medication usage allows patients to lead normal lives.
He emphasized the importance of doctors educating their patients about asthma and its management. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 300 million people worldwide are currently suffering from asthma. Cold wind, air pollution, an increase in urban population, obesity, and lack of movement are identified as some of the reasons for the rising prevalence of asthma attacks.
Experts underscored the controllability of asthma through positive lifestyle changes, timely treatment, and precautions. Dr. Javaid stressed the need for education among people with asthma and their families, including understanding treatment options, triggers to avoid, and managing symptoms at home. Healthcare providers may provide asthma action plans to empower individuals to take greater control of their treatment.
Dr. Javaid mentioned that children with diets low in vegetables and vitamin E were two to three times more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms. Early mornings and evenings, rich in dust motes and mites, are identified triggers for asthma seizures. He recommended that children with an asthma history avoid venturing out during these hours.
In response to a question, Dr. Javaid advocated for prevention over cure, advising people to avoid allergic substances and medicines that can cause asthma. He highlighted that asthma, if not addressed at the initial stage, can affect the height growth of children.