By Dr. Caroli’s Multispecialty, Trichology
Allergies flare up during specific seasons and climate conditions. However, the quality of the air you breathe may also have an effect on the frequency and severity of the allergies you experience. Smog is one such air pollutant that is known to have an adverse effect on people suffering from seasonal bouts of allergic rhinitis and bronchitis.
What is smog?
Smog is a particular kind of air pollution that results when a mix of gases and pollutants reacts with sunlight. Some common gases in smog include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and other compounds. With these gases, smog also contains particulate matter, such as dust, sand, smoke and pollen.
Smog and its effect on allergies:
Smog has a debilitating effect on the body’s respiratory system. People suffering from allergies affecting their bronchial region will experience severe discomfort under the effect of smog. While it affects people of all ages, children and the elderly experience the greatest complications when exposed to smog.
Allergic symptoms experienced due to smog inhalation:
• Smog inhalation over a certain period will result in inflammation of the respiratory tract. This effect is similar to the effect of cigarette smoke and can be devastating for young children and adults alike.
• The inflammation of the lungs caused by smog leads to the secretion of interleukin-6. This compound forms blood clots, which can lead to strokes and cardiac arrests.
• Over time, smog can decrease the capacity of the lung. Breathlessness and tightness of the chest are common symptoms of smog inhalation.
Aside from complicating the allergies, smog can lead to lung cancer.
Since children and the elderly have weaker immune systems, smog affects them the most. Children with asthma face a greater risk from smog. Furthermore, the ground level ozone in smog reacts adversely with sunlight to form harmful pollutants. These pollutants aggravate allergic conditions further.
How to avoid the effects of smog?
The best way to minimize the effect of smog on seasonal allergies is to take proper precautions against it. Here are some things you can do-
• Keep a track of the local air quality before heading out. If the air quality is poor, try to stay indoors to minimize the effect of smog.
• If you do need to step outside, wear a mask to minimize inhalation of pollutants.
• Try to go out at dawn before the sun can intensify the smog.
Smog has a long-term effect on your health, which is why it is vital to limit exposure of children to the same.