All of us are affected b air pollution, which is a major environmental health issue. But, recently, an alarming number of reports have pointed to an invisible enemy that none of us can control – rising pollution levels.
The lethal effects of pollution are seen across the world. Air pollution has become a significant issue. The pollution levels in the major metropolitan cities have increased due to increased construction work, industrial activity, crop burning, garbage dumps, and vehicle traffic & vehicle congestion.
The high level of exposure to air pollution has raised alarm bells all over, with health experts calling it an emergency. Unfortunately, most cities are not equipped to deal with this sudden rise in pollution and have poor air quality monitoring systems.
The deteriorating air quality not only poses serious human health risks. Not only to the children, the elderly, and those with certain medical conditions but also to the general public. Let us understand how pollution affects us.
Erm Health Effects Of Air Pollution
You are prone to allergies, infections, skin irritation, burning eyes, and respiratory diseases when affected by air pollution. However, these effects are short-lived and can be resolved once you protect yourself from harmful air pollutants.
Long-term Health Effects Of Air Pollution
Asthma attack, lung disease, Cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, brittle bones, osteoporosis, dementia, and cancers (especially lung cancer)
Small children and the elderly are the most susceptible to the harmful effect of air pollution. It is even more damaging during pregnancy as the unhealthy pollution levels can affect the developing fetus and may result in birth complications like early fetal death and premature birth.
Pollution Kills 1 Out Of 6 People In The World!
Research shows that pollution is the number one cause of death globally. According to a recent study, 1 out of 6 people worldwide dies due to pollution.
Unfortunately, you can’t exactly change the state of the air you breathe every day, but you can change your reaction to it with some easy techniques. You can do many things on your level to help reduce the health risk of toxic, polluted air.
Particulate matter like soot comprises tiny parts of chemicals, smoke, dust, and allergens which form a part of gas of solids. These, when released in the air, cause particle pollution and can even rise to harmful levels if not controlled.
Here are a few tips you can follow to help protect yourself and your family from air pollution exposure:
Stay Indoors During High Pollution
Don’t step out or indulge in outdoor activities during “severe” levels of air pollution. Try to stay indoors.
Staying outdoors during high air pollution can increase your risk of lung diseases, heart attacks, asthma, and other health problems. It is vital to avoid stepping out if you have breathing difficulty or other respiratory pain.
You can try and work from home for some days if this facility is available in your office to prevent outdoor air pollution. Also, keep children indoors as much as possible. Go out when the pollution level fall and the atmosphere becomes bright.
Make sure to check the indoor air quality inside your house. Doing so will give you an insight into the gases inside your home and any harmful pollutants present.
Buy And Use A Good Quality Mask
Buy and wear a good quality reusable air mask when you are outdoors. Some anti-pollution masks are the N99 VOG mask, N95 air masks, Respro Mask, Honeywell PM2.5 Anti-Pollution Mask, Cambridge mask, etc. These masks protect you from dust, particulate matter, and microbes. Unfortunately, a simple mask of cloth or handkerchief does not offer much protection from long-term exposure to air pollution.
Avoid The Most Used Roads
You should avoid using the main road. Vehicular traffic on the main road or highway leads to a high level of pollution. Instead, try using small roads and walk-in lanes from the main roads, which generally have low pollution levels compared to the main road.
Carry Your Medication With You
When you go out in a polluted environment, the pollutant in the air can worsen your health condition, particularly if you have any cardiovascular or respiratory problems like asthma.
Carry your SOS or emergency medicines/inhalers every time you go out in a polluted environment which would help keep your symptoms under control.
Ever Exercise In An Air Pollution Prone Environment
Don’t exercise, walk or run outside in case of very high air pollution. When you work out, you breathe deeper and faster, which results in more particles entering your lungs. So instead, try working out from home. Also, avoid doing yoga exercises in traffic or high-pollution areas.
Nsure The Home Windows Are Sealed With Mesh Screens
Cover all the windows with a fine mesh screen. This is sufficient to prevent the entry of dust particles and insects. However, if the pollution level increases, you should completely close your doors and windows. You can open the windows once the air quality improves, maintaining indoor air ventilation.
Install A Portable Air Purifier
You can purchase and use a portable air purifier in your home. This is very important, particularly for people with respiratory conditions. Certain air purifiers with HEPA filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns and keep you safe from harmful air pollutants.
Ensure that the air filter and air conditioner filters are cleaned every three months. The sale of air purifiers is growing at 50% a year in India, and this is expected to grow exponentially now.
You can also bring home air-purifying plants like Peace Lily, Spider plants, Chinese evergreen, Florist’s Chrysanthemum, Golden Pothos, and English Ivy. These houseplants can help reduce indoor air pollution. These beautiful plants can also add charm to your house décor.
Use A Mobile App To Monitor Air Pollution Levels In Your Area
Keep track of air pollution in your area. These days, many air quality monitors are available that tell you how clean the surrounding air is.
Monitor air pollution levels before going out and reduce the duration of your outdoor stay when an air quality alert has been issued. This will help you make better decisions about when and how to face the outside air.
Modify Your Lifestyle
It would help if you also made a specific lifestyle change to build your immune system to fight against any allergy or infection. The following lifestyle changes are helpful:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet containing lots of fruits and vegetables
- Have ginger and tulsi tea instead of regular tea and coffee
- Drink an adequate amount of water as it helps in flushing toxins from the body
- Take steam inhalation daily to relax your air passages and help your body remove the harmful particulate substances
- Exercise regularly for at least 30 mins. You can also try walking, jogging, yoga, meditation, etc
- Quit or reduce the intake of alcohol, cigarette, oil, sugar, and salt
Follow the above simple tips to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of air pollution. Also, share and spread health awareness with your loved ones.