Earth Science - Other

Environmental Exposures and Health Asthma



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Asthma is a chronic disease which will affect the airways of the lungs and thereby make a person vulnerable in developing a restrictive lung disease which prevents the person from breathing in adequate amount of air for normal oxygenation. The underlying mechanism of asthma would be to make air passages narrow as a result of various stimuli. Being a disease with many etiologies, people finds it hard to control asthma episodes as many stimuli or triggers are present in our own environment which will be able to make a person wheeze. Thus, a person may be susceptible for environmental triggers for causing an asthma attack at home, at work or else even when the person is enjoying a stroll in the park.

When considering the industrialized society that we live in, environmental pollution has gone over the limits and thus had begun to influence our health as well as the global climate. One of the most striking influences it had made on people’s health was to push the susceptible individuals to have more frequent asthma attacks or else make healthy persons who persistently get exposed to such triggers to become asthmatic. Certain industries such as pain, chemical, asbestos, timber/wood, plastic and other such industries which makes use of irritant chemicals and aerosols seems to make people more vulnerable in developing an asthma attack.

Apart from making use of or producing such asthma triggers, if the work place looks dusty and has poor ventilation, that itself can make a person develop an asthmatic attack. Therefore, keeping the work place healthy is one aspect in programmes related to asthma prevention.

In the outside environment, as was mentioned before, many pollutants have made us live in a sea of asthma triggers and these may vary from exhaust fumes from vehicles, oil traces, smoke emitted from factories, people smoking in the surrounding can all lead to developing an asthma attack and therefore be avoided at all times possible.

Apart from the man made triggers, there can be certain other trigger which are naturally occurring and pollens, dust, animal dander, cold, humidity or even a weather change can lead to an asthma attack. Some triggers are much more active during a certain time period and thus precautions needs to be taken during such time for a person to be asthma free.

It should also be mentioned that, indoor environment also plays a vital part in developing asthma and dust, inappropriate ventilation, smoking and smoke emanating from other sources can be a culprit in making a person develop an asthma attack. Keeping pets in the immediate vicinity of a susceptible individual will make them go into an asthma attack if they become allergic to animal dander.

When considering all these factors, it is obvious that, preventing an asthma attack due to environmental triggers would not be an easy task and it would require some meticulous planning to avoid at least some of these triggers.

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