Air pollution: How homeopathy can help in easing asthma symptoms

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Air pollution is now one of the leading causes of death in the world. The World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) estimates about 4.2 million premature deaths are caused due to ambient air pollution worldwide. In addition to the obvious illnesses involving the respiratory system like bronchial asthma, air pollution is also understood to cause a substantially increased incidence of cardiovascular disease and strokes. A host of skin conditions are also known to get aggravated due to air pollution.

India, too, is grappling with air pollution, as an aggressive pace of development in the past few decades, has contributed to rising air pollution levels across the country. Sadly, the national capital region (N.C.R.) of Delhi has held the thorny crown of having the most polluted air in the world for a while now. With winter setting in, and this coinciding with crop burning activities as well as Diwali firecrackers, air pollution levels are peaking. Land locked regions like the N.C.R. are unlucky to have this trifecta bearing down on it every year, making Air Quality Index (A.Q.I.) levels shoot up sharply. As a result, this period of the year sees a sharp increase in episodes of bronchial asthma, hyper-reactive airway disease, allergic rhinitis and several other issues.

Every clinic is inundated with cases of these illnesses during this time of the year. Prescriptions of bronchodilators, anti-allergic medicines, nasal drops and similar medicines are rampant. The use of these medicines, although, adept at providing quick relief in the initial phases, may result in increased dependence leading to a gradual increase in dosage and frequency of usage because patients may become immune to lower doses.

Homeopathy is ‘famously’ associated with the treatment of asthma and many conditions related to hypersensitivity and allergies. A very high number of patients frustrated with the increasing frequency of their episodes and increasing dosage of their medicines seek homeopathic treatment for better long-term management without the danger of side effects.

For all these conditions, homeopathy offers a two-pronged approach. One: to provide immediate relief to the patient. Two: to provide long term treatment to gradually bring down the frequency and intensity of aggravated episodes of these conditions. It is this second point which sets homeopathy apart from the approach of conventional medicine.

Homeopathy used over prolonged periods can bring down the frequency and intensity of aggravated episodes of conditions related to air pollution. Long term use of homeopathic medicines often results in a decrease or stoppage of the use of conventional medicines. This trend of reversal in severity and frequency of episodes is generally not expected in conventional medicine.

For long term improvement, we prescribe Calcarea Carbonica to patients. In acute phases of breathing trouble, medicines like Hepar Sulphur and Ipecac can quickly relieve asthmatic episodes and continuous coughing and result in an immediate reduction of the use of bronchodilators and other similar medicines. The improved ventilation of lungs and an increase in respiratory volumes after using homeopathic medicines is frequently demonstrated through objective testing methods like the pulmonary function test.

A blocked nose can be a very distressing symptom in patients. Small children are unable to fall asleep for several nights due to this. In these cases, we find that Lycopodium Clovatum, given orally, provides relief in short order to the patient – children and adults alike, even when several doses of nasal drops have failed.

Acute bouts of sneezing in patients of rhinitis may increase with exposure to high levels of air pollution. A very effective medicine in this case is Allium Cepa, which is given at a high frequency to stop sneezing and provide some relief to the associated nasal and eye symptoms.

In addition to medicines, patients should also try and limit further irritation of the respiratory and nasal passages. Avoiding the use of odorous substances like room fresheners, perfumes, incense etc is important. The additives, colouring agents, preservatives and other chemicals in processed and junk food may also contribute to worsening allergies. These are best avoided too.

Parents must understand that the health of their children is paramount. Acute episodes of asthma and hyper-reactive airway disease are best managed at home. This may mean missing school (and possibly, work for the parents) for several days at a stretch. However, getting proper rest and medication in the initial phase ultimately results in fewer days of school getting missed.

Most importantly, lead a disciplined lifestyle: go to bed early, engage in moderate but regular exercise. Exercise helps keep the immune system toned, making it less susceptible to over-reaction and aiding quick recovery.

Dr. Kushal Banerjee is a second-generation homeopath at the renowned Dr. Kalyan Banerjee’s Clinic, CR Park and has over a decade of experience in the practice. He is also a member of the British Register of Complementary Medicine, England and has lead-authored research on homeopathy with collaborators from the University of Oxford and Imperial College, London.

By Dr. Kushal Banerjee
M.D. (Hom.), MSc (Oxon)

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this article is to promote a broader understanding of homeopathy in the treatment of various health conditions. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.

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