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BTS Winter Meeting 2021: Indoor air quality as a silent killer of patients with respiratory disease


Asking patients with respiratory disease about their use of candles and whether they have an attached garage may not be at the top of the list when conducting a regular reviews but perhaps it should be. Indoor air quality may be overlooked and underestimated as a source of morbidity and mortality among patients with respiratory disease. Exposure to air pollution including vapours, gases, dust and fumes (VGDF) tobacco smoke was starkly shown to increase symptom of asthma. A study ( ) reported by colleagues in Finland at this year's BTS Winter Meeting in more than 4000 people with asthma found that exposure to air pollution led to more symptoms of wheeze, cough and morning dyspnoea. Unappreciated sources of indoor air pollution include candle and incense burning as well as cooking and heating with solid fuels and having an attached garage, sources that are not limited to developing countries, as pointed out by Professor Nadia Hansel (Baltimore) in her presentation on inequalities as a silent killer in COPD.

Visit our Greener Respiratory Healthcare page ( to access a range of resources to help you understand the impact of indoor air quality on respiratory health and find ways to help patients mitigate the potentially life-threatening effects..