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

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

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 17, 2018 and last reviewed on: Aug 10, 2022

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.

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.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
COPD - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

There is a need for frequent throat clearing ... They form more mucus as a result of the irritation ...   Read full

What is the treatment for frequent sneezing and running nose?

.. a common problem these days with a lot of industrialization and pollution around. Check your eosinophil count by doing a routine blood examination. Check blood IgE level. Do a skin prick allergy test to find out the major cause that triggers this anaph   Read full

Why a swollen lymph node that I have had for two years, has shrunk on taking Prednisone?

This is especially true if you do not have any other site of infection or injury in your scalp, mouth, teeth, gums, ear, nose, or throat to explain it ... The chest tightness has cleared up, but there is still a little   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Pulmonologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.