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HomeAnswersPulmonology (Asthma Doctors)pollutionI traveled to a polluted area and have a few issues. What to do?

Will travelling to a place with high rates of pollution affect my lungs?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At February 18, 2018
Reviewed AtFebruary 12, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I am a 23-year-old male who has just returned home from a year's trip to a country known for high rates of pollution. I am currently experiencing shortness of breath (no coughing) and excessive burping. I will try to provide you with as much detail as possible. When I went, I did not have any symptoms. Three months had passed with no problem. Then I slowly started to become tired while working out and eventually at the five-month mark I was exhausted. The main symptoms I had were fatigue (unable to exercise at all), shortness of breath, pain/discomfort in the upper back, and excessive burping. Now after returning (been back for two weeks), I only have shortness of breath and burping. I still feel some discomfort in my upper back but not as severe. I went to the ER and got a chest X-ray and blood work (I have listed the tests), and all came back fine. So as of now, I do not know what to think and I am debating whether to return there as it is known for its high pollution rate in most cities and at times it seemed that my symptoms fluctuated with the pollution level.

I do not know what to think about the shortness of breath. It feels as though I need to take deeper breaths. I am able to exercise again though. I am currently using Omeprazole for burping. I have been using it for almost two weeks and it is not helping at all. I also have antacid and digestive enzymes that I use occasionally. What are your suggestions for tests I should take or in general? I honestly want to know if it would be a good idea to return given the information I have provided. Thanks for your help.


Welcome to icliniq.com.

In case all your investigations are normal then you probably have acute bronchitis or associated anxiety. In your case scenario, my suggestion would beantiallergic like Levocetirizine and Montelukastonce daily. Addition of Etizolam as an antianxiety drug would help you further. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start taking the medicines with their consent.

I hope it helps you.

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

Thanks for your reply.

Do you not think the pollution levels would have an effect on my lungs?


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Pollution levels do affect. However, the treatment is avoiding pollution as well as taking antiallergics as cough due to pollution is always allergic in nature. But I find anxiety associated based on history. So I would recommend you a trial of anxiolytics and see the response.

I hope it helps you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Anshul Varshney
Dr. Anshul Varshney

Internal Medicine

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