How to protect from yourself- Dr Nitin Garg
Despite preventive measures, Air pollution continues to rise at an alarming level. Polluted air has now become a health hazard which is worrisome for all of us.
The AQI index is constantly crossing the hazardous mark which is leading to serious health problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, dyspnea, nausea, and burning of the eyes, and glaucoma. And it’s not just the outdoor air pollution, in many places, it has been found out that indoor air pollution can be as lethal as the outdoor variety.
According to a recent study, breathing outside air is as bad as smoking 40 cigarettes in a day! The question arising is – as Delhi-NCR’s air quality continues to deteriorate to dangerous levels, can we do anything to protect ourselves?
While we know wearing an anti-pollution mask is the easiest way to protect against polluted air, here are some additional precautions and safety measures you can take to protect yourself and your family –
1. Avoid the Outdoors
On average, people spend about 65 percent of their time indoors, be it their home or at work. When air pollution is on a rise, it is advisable to abstain from any activity that requires one to step outside, such as for a walk or an early morning exercise in a park.
Studies have claimed that morning air quality is especially poor for your lungs as pollution is at its highest due to mixing with smog and fog. Thus, one should try to exercise inside their homes till the pollution levels are hazardous. If you are stepping outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Even daily chores should be avoided as much as possible, or mitigated to indoors-only shopping and purchasing. Experts suggest that outside exposure is harmful even during late evening hours when the dust and pollutant from the atmosphere are in higher concentrations.
2. Ventilation and Plantation
A good way to reduce the harmful impact of air pollution inside a closed space is to install an air purifier. But, if you do not want to invest in one, plants are a small step to help you breathe healthy air. Indoor plants like Tulsi, Spider plant, Snake plant, Aloe Vera, English ivy, and Areca palm are known to remove pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde, whilst purifying the air inside your home.
Similarly, proper ventilation is a must to ensure indoor pollutants and smoke from cooking can be easily circulated outside and keep your home environment fresh and clean. It is advisable to open up windows and doors during afternoon hours on a regular basis.
3. Eat well and exercise often
As much effective as masks, purifiers and plants can be, to guard yourself against the harmful effects of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, you need to have a strong immune system. And it starts with eating right and exercising enough.
A good diet should include lots of citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables. As lungs are the first body part affected severely by hazardous pollutants, thus including Vitamin C in your diet is a must. Foods like spinach, tomato, and avocados are good sources.
Further, it is advised to use ingredients like Turmeric and Flax seed to protect yourself against the damage done by polluted air. Turmeric, when combined with ghee can help in cough relief, and reduce throat irritation. Flax seed is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants which help in protecting the cardiovascular system against chemicals found in air, whilst reducing the symptoms of asthma and allergic reactions in the lungs.
Lastly, do not forget to keep yourself well hydrated as water helps in flushing out the toxins and pollutants from the body. It is advisable to consume a minimum of 2-2.5 litres of water daily.
With desperate times, come desperate measures, as they say. Thus, it’s time to take matters into our hands and start protecting against the menace of rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
Hope you incorporate the tips and suggestions mentioned in the article. Do not forget to share with a friend, family member or a co-worker who could benefit from the knowledge too!
Stay well, stay healthy.
MBBS, MD, FNB(Critical Care), EDIC
General Physician, ICU & Critical Care Expert
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