Air pollution has a detrimental effect on our health and well-being. With rising levels of pollutants, especially of PM2.5 and PM10, the effects are being felt in a wide variety of ways and across age groups and demographics.
How does air pollution affect our health?
Our physical and psychological wellbeing is affected differently by the kind of air pollution we are exposed to. There are many organs and bodily functions that can be harmed, the consequences include:
- Respiratory disease
- Fatigue, headaches and anxiety
- Irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
- Nervous system damage
Additionally, the very young and old sections of the population react more adversely to poor air as so people with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD).
Precautions to minimize the effects of air pollution
Some of the steps that are recommended to minimise the effects of air pollution are as follows:
- PROTECT YOURSELF, AVOID EXPOSURE: Avoid going near areas like busy roads and construction sites. Visit a doctor in case breathlessness and excessive coughs are not treated by the help of over-the-counter medication.
- FOLLOW YOUR MEDICATION REGIME: If you do have any respiratory condition and have been prescribed a treatment regimen, do make sure that you follow the prescribed suggestions of your doctor. Do not skip any medication and do carry your SOS medication or doses while travelling or at work or school.
- AVOID HEAVY EXERCISES: Try to avoid heavy exertion activities and going outdoors for physical activities such as cycling, jogging etc. during early morning and evening. Although gym or indoor exercises are permissible, they should be done in moderation. It is better to limit the outdoor activities for children.
- KEEP AIR PURIFYING PLANTS INDOOR: To control the quality of indoor air, one should opt for natural air-purifying plants such as Aloe Vera, ivy, money plant, areca palms, Sansevieria and Spider plant. These plants have properties of cleaning polluted air and in turn releasing clean air in close environments. Avoid using chemical freshener and cleaners, burning of candles and smoking in rooms and closed areas.
- MAINTAIN FREQUENT VENTILATION: Occasionally, open your windows for short periods of time to allow for ventilation of closed spaces. This simple tip can make a difference in improving the air quality in your home.
- WEAR A MASK IF YOU HAVE MEDICAL CONDITION: It is suggested to use pollution masks especially during those days when the air quality dips to severity. A mask must have a carbon filter and an exhaust valve. The mask should fit perfectly on the face and is comfortable for a person to be able to wear it for a long period of time. Make sure there is no gap in the mask as it will defeat the purpose.
- CONSUME A VITAMIN C RICH DIET: Try to consume fruits that are rich in Vitamin C, Magnesium and Omega Fatty Acids. These nutrients help to strengthen the overall immunity of the body and help to fight the ill effects of pollutants.
- STAY HYDRATED: Drink plenty of water as it clears the airways in the body. Also, instead of regular tea try to take herbal, ginger or Tulsi tea as this can play a vital role in helping the body to rinse out toxins.
- CHECK AIR POLLUTION LEVELS: A periodic check of air pollution levels will help in better awareness of the quality of air. On many days, the signs of poor air – like smog or smoky environments, may not be present, but the air quality may continue to be poor
- PRECUATIONS FOR INDOOR HEATING: As the weather gets colder, do not use indoor heating mechanisms like open fires, wood or charcoal buring as they can further deteriorate the quality of indoor air.
In case you or a family member has a persistent cough of presents symptoms of respiratory distress like breathlessness, wheezing or gasping – immediately call your doctor or dial 1066 for Apollo’s Emergency Services.