Air pollution and smog affect the entire country during the months of november and december. Here are some helpful tips to protect yourself.
Responsible for a myriad of health issues, air pollution and smog are some of the biggest threats to public safety, especially in India. It's essential to take precautions to protect yourself against the adverse effects of air pollution. Air pollution is one of the biggest threats to human existence. It has become a major global concern, affecting almost every country in the world. India is one of the most affected countries, holding the position of being the world’s second most polluted place. Research shows air pollution decreases the average life expectancy in India by 6.3 years. OnlyMyHealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Battu Chaithanya, Pulmonologist and Chest Physician at Apollo 24|7, to know about some helpful ways to protect yourself from smog and air pollution.
These deteriorating conditions can cause several short- and long-term health issues. People with pre-existing conditions like asthma and cardiovascular issues are at an increased risk of suffering a major health crisis. The only thing you can do is take some measures to safeguard yourself against the adverse effects of air pollution and smog. So, here are some effective tips to minimise the damage:
One of the most effective and easiest measures you can take to protect yourself against smog and air pollution is to use an N95- or N99-grade mask whenever you step out. Basic surgical masks or a cloth mask are not effective enough as fine particles can pass through them. Only an N95 or N99 mask is effective enough to filter smoke and fine particles. Moreover, it's vital to make sure that your mask sits perfectly on your nasal bridge and fits snugly around your nose and mouth.
While regular exercise is essential to maintain good health, it’s highly advisable to abstain from exercising outdoors when the pollution levels are high. People should avoid running, jogging, walking, or doing any kind of outdoor activity until the smog settles. This is mainly because the more time you spend outdoors, the more you’ll be exposed to harmful pollutants and toxic air. Moreover, heavy physical activities tend to increase your breathing rate and make you more likely to breathe deeply through your mouth. This means that you’ll directly inhale heavy particulate matter, which would typically get filtered out by your nostrils.
The majority of exposure to air pollution takes place indoors. Smog and polluted air easily enter buildings and we are exposed to them round the clock as we spend a major chunk of our time inside. Moreover, indoor air pollution caused by cleaning products, wood smoke, deodorants, air fresheners, and detergent adds to the polluted air that enters your building. One of the best ways of purifying indoor air is to add air-purifying plants like spider plants, ivy, aloe vera, bamboo palm, and snake plants to your surroundings. These plants are not only a great source of oxygen but also quite easy to maintain as they don't need harsh sunlight or regular watering.
A good air purification system makes sure that there is no smoke, pollens, or irritants in the indoor air while a humidifier eliminates excess moisture from the air to kill mould and any kind of harmful bacteria that grow in humid conditions. It’s highly recommended to install an air purifier in the room of your kids and elderly family members as they are the most likely to be affected by toxic air. Make sure to buy an air purifier that has undergone rigorous testing and don’t forget to check the specific sizes of particles that it can filter.
Make sure to eat foods loaded with vitamins A, C, and E as these nutrients help in repairing your body and fight inflammation caused by toxins and pollutants. To get a healthy dose of vitamin A, you can eat fruits and veggies like carrots, radishes, sweet potato, spinach, pumpkin, and fenugreek (methi). To ensure a healthy intake of vitamin C, add foods like amla (gooseberry), oranges, and white lemon to your daily diet. For vitamin E intake, you can eat almonds and rice bran oil. Moreover, try eating foods rich in omega fatty acids and magnesium. In addition, you can add foods like basil, jaggery, sugarcane juice, and liquorice root to your lung detox diet.
Following the above-mentioned tips can go a long way in preventing the adverse effects of rising air pollution levels.
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