How To Prevent Respiratory Diseases This Monsoon


The monsoon has started and brought relief from the scorching sun and rain brings happiness for most of the people. But for the people who have respiratory problems, rain is like a bane to them as swirling dust and humidity creates problems for such patients. Therefore, to avoid such problems some necessary steps can be taken to ease oneself.

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when fluid builds up in the tiny, elastic air sacs (alveoli) in your lungs. The fluid keeps your lungs from filling with enough air, which means less oxygen reaches your bloodstream. This deprives your organs of the oxygen they need to function.

ARDS typically occurs in people who are already critically ill or who have significant injuries. Severe shortness of breath — the main symptom of ARDS — usually develops within a few hours to a few days after the precipitating injury or infection.

Many people who develop ARDS don't survive. The risk of death increases with age and severity of illness. Of the people who do survive ARDS, some recover completely while others experience lasting damage to their lungs.

ARIs may cause inflammation of the respiratory tract anywhere from nose to alveoli, with a wide range of combination of signs and symptoms. ARIs are classified by clinical syndromes depending on the site of infection and is referred to as upper (AURI) or lower (ALRI) respiratory tract according to whether they affect the upper or lower respiratory tracts.

The upper respiratory tracts consists of the airways from the nostrils to the vocal cord in the larynx and includes the pharynx along with the internal structure of the ear.

The lower respiratory tract refers to the continuation of the airways below the larynx and the branching airways throughout the lungs.

Acute Respiratory infection is an infection that may interfere with normal breathing. This infection is particularly dangerous for children, older adults and people with immune system disorders.

Mode of Transmission – All the causative organisms are normally transmitted by the airborne route. Most of the viruses do not survive for long outside the respiratory tract, the chain of transmission is maintained by direct person – to – person contact.

Symptoms - 

The signs and symptoms of ARDS can vary in intensity, depending on its cause and severity, as well as the presence of underlying heart or lung disease with the presence of whether if it’s a lower or upper respiratory infection.

Upper Respiratory Tract Infection:

1. Common Cold

2. Headache

3. Pharyngitis

4. Stuffed or runny nose

5. Sore throat

6. Sneezing

7. Muscle aches and pain

The symptoms of an upper respiratory infection usually pass within one to two weeks.

Lower Respiratory Tract Infection:

As with an upper respiratory tract infection, the main symptom of a lower respiratory tract infection is a cough, although it is usually more severe and more productive ( bringing up phlegm and mucus). Sometimes the mucus is blood-stained. Other symptoms of a lower respiratory tract infection include:

1. Severe and more productive cough

2. A tight feeling in the chest

3. Breathlessness

4. Wheezing

5. Sore throat

6. Fever and chills

7. Headaches

8. Blocked nose and sinuses

9. Aches and pains

When to see a doctor

ARDS usually follows a major illness or injury, and most people who are affected are already hospitalized.

Causes

The mechanical cause of ARDS is fluid leaked from the smallest blood vessels in the lungs into the tiny air sacs where blood is oxygenated. Normally, a protective membrane keeps this fluid in the vessels. Severe illness or injury, however, can cause damage to the membrane, leading to the fluid leakage of ARDS.

Underlying causes of ARDS includes 

1. Sepsis -  The most common cause of ARDS is sepsis, a serious and widespread infection of the bloodstream.

2. Inhalation of harmful substances - Breathing high concentrations of smoke or chemical fumes can result in ARDS, as can inhaling (aspirating) vomit or near-drowning episodes.

3. Severe pneumonia - Severe cases of pneumonia usually affect all five lobes of the lungs.

4. Head, chest or other major injury - Accidents, such as falls or car crashes, can directly damage the lungs or the portion of the brain that controls breathing.

5.  Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) - People who have severe COVID-19 may develop ARDS.

6. Others -  Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), massive blood transfusions and burns.

Thanks to improved treatments, more people are surviving ARDS. However, many survivors end up with potentially serious and sometimes lasting effects:

Breathing problems - Many people with ARDS recover most of their lung function within several months to two years, but others may have breathing problems for the rest of their lives. Even people who do well usually have shortness of breath and fatigue and may need supplemental oxygen at home for a few months.

Depression - Most ARDS survivors also report going through a period of depression, which is treatable.

Problems with memory and thinking clearly - Sedatives and low levels of oxygen in the blood can lead to memory loss and cognitive problems after ARDS. In some cases, the effects may lessen over time, but in others, the damage may be permanent.

Tiredness and muscle weakness - Being in the hospital and on a ventilator can cause your muscles to weaken. You also may feel very tired following treatment.

Medication

People with ARDS usually are given medication to:

1. Prevent and treat infection

2.  Relieve pain and discomfort

3.  Prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs

4. Minimize gastric reflux 

5. Sedate

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

If you're recovering from ARDS, the following suggestions can help protect your lungs:

Quit smoking -  If you smoke, seek help to quit, and avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible.

Get vaccinated - The yearly flu (influenza) shot, as well as the pneumonia vaccine every five years, can reduce your risk of lung infections.

Coping and Support

Recovery from ARDS can be a long road, and you'll need plenty of support. Although everyone's recovery is different, being aware of common challenges encountered by others with the disorder can help. Consider these tips:

Ask for help - Particularly after you're released from the hospital, be sure you have help with everyday tasks until you know what you can manage on your own.

 Attend pulmonary rehabilitation - Many medical centers now offer pulmonary rehabilitation programs, which incorporate exercise training, education and counseling to help you learn how to return to your normal activities and achieve your ideal weight.

Join a support group - There are support groups for people with chronic lung problems. Discover what's available in your community or online and consider joining others with similar experiences.

Seek professional help - If you have symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness and loss of interest in your usual activities, tell your doctor or contact a mental health professional. Depression is common in people who have had ARDS, and treatment can help.

Written By - Chavi Goel

 

 

 

 


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