From Minor Ailments to Major Diseases: How You May Be Suffering From Big City Air Pollution

March 31, 2015

Respiratory ailments can be caused and worsened by an array of factors, one of which is city air pollution. Also known as smog, this can cause everything from short-term allergy-like symptoms to more serious long-term health conditions. If you suspect city smog is taking a toll on your lungs, experts here at Bumrungrad International Hospital can help you breathe easier and get you back to a normal life.

What is smog?

In modern day cities, smog is a combination of several pollutants including:

  • Gaseous vehicular emissions caused by internal combustion engines
  • Smoke and fumes associated with industrial chemical plants and refineries
  • Ozone
  • Photochemicals; this is a secondary pollutant caused by the combination of sunlight and other atmospheric gases with vehicular emissions

Minor conditions caused by city air pollution

When exposed to city smog, you’ll often feel the effects of allergy-like symptoms immediately. This includes itchy eyes, running nose, or a tickle in the throat that provokes coughing. Because smog also affects lung function, you may find it difficult to breathe, particularly during exercise. Small particulates also cause inflammation in lung tissue, which causes chest irritation and possibly pain.

Major conditions caused by city air pollution

People who are more sensitive to air pollution will feel the effects of city smog more than the general public. Sensitive people include those who presently have asthma, bronchitis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), emphysema, pneumonia, or other lung and respiratory system complications.

Short-term but potentially severe symptoms may also occur when exposed to city air pollution, including increased or worsened asthma attacks and the development of bronchitis or pneumonia.

People diagnoses with COPD or emphysema may experience exasperated symptoms. On the rare occasion, deadly conditions, such as pulmonary disease and lung cancer, can develop from long-term exposure.

Bangkok’s air quality index

According to the real-time AQI (air quality index) measurements conducted in mid March of 2015, most regions of Bangkok had AQI readings at or below 50, which results in a city-wide average of 50.

Levels of 0 to 50 indicate good air pollution levels.

suffering from bangkok Big city air pollution

Although just shy of moderate air pollution levels that have an AQI from 51 to 100, this measurement may be a surprise to international travelers who may have thought that Bangkok is just another smoggy Asian city. On the contrary!

What if I still have trouble breathing?

Bumrungrad International Hospital Pulmonary Center is a comprehensive center that offers diagnostics, testing, and rehabilitation treatment of the lungs.

Services include, but are not limited to, treating asthma, bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, lung cancer, lung infections, and other lung ailments. Treatments options consist of the administration of antibiotics, steroids, bronchodilators, and antihistamines. If required, we also offer surgery, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.

If you feel shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, or inflammation of your airways, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at +66 2011 2222, Monday through Sunday. Our Pulmonary Center is located at the Bumrungrad International Clinic (BIC) on the 15th floor.

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