DELHI: The dense smog, engulfing the city and its neighbouring areas, has affected life majorly. The zero-visibility caused by the hazardous air pollution has resulted in serious road accidents and delay in flight and train services.
After Indian Medical Association declared a ‘public health emergency’ in Delhi on Tuesday, schools decided to shut till Sunday. The National Green Tribunal also banned the construction and industrial activities in the City till November 14.
While people are on high alert, there are certain things one needs to keep in mind when dealing with this major crisis in the city.
Tips To Beat The Toxic Smog
1. Avoid cardio workout
Breathing heavily during cardio workout will draw pollution deeper into the lungs, increasing the chances of respiratory ailments. “Avoid outdoor exercise at least until levels drop below the prescribed limit. Even allergic cough and breathing problems in little children can be averted by spending the evening indoors,” said Vinay Pathak, Subject Matter Expert, 3M Asia Pacific Region.
2. Get the right mask
It is crucial to find the right mask to protect yourself from the repercussions of the polluted air. Avoid surgical and comfort masks as they don’t provide adequate respiratory protection to the wearer. Currently, Delhi’s air has increased levels of particulate matter (PM2.5 – particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres). Hence, get a respirator that is rated N95/N99/FFP3 or is ‘NIOSH Approved’ that filters out more than 95% of particles (larger than 0.3 microns). “Air pollution can result in bad health by 2.5 microns particles and smaller,” shared Pathak.
3. Stay hydrated
Health and wellness expert Dolly Kumar, and founder of GAIA, suggested keeping the body hydrated and drinking more water than usual during this time. One can also consume vegetable and fruit juices.
4. Don’t ignore sustained symptoms
Keep the allergy kit ready with required medicines, inhalers and nebulisers if you have a family member with respiratory illness. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Indoor Measures To Fight Pollution
1. Invest in an air purifier
The quality of air in your home and office can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in some mechanism for cleaning the indoor air. Alternately, there are products in the market today which can be used with your existing wall-mounted air-conditioner to clean the air of PM2.5 without the filter taking any extra space or running cost. Running it even one hour per day is an effective way to keep the air cleaner.
2. Go green
Try to make your home a little greener. “Bring home some natural air purifiers like Aloe Vera and Spider Plant which suck up all the pollutants,” Kumar shared. The plants will not only help with the air quality, but will also help as a mood refresher.
3. Don’t compromise on fitness
Since you cannot go for a jog outdoors or even do yoga in the park, some exercise at home will work just fine. This will help you not feel sluggish in the pollution and stay healthy.
Signs You Need To Show To A Doctor
Breathing in the poor air quality can have severe health implications in the short and long term. Luke Coutinho, Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine – Holistic Nutrition said that we tend to develop more mucus in our lungs when we inhale smog. “It further holds on the toxins making us feel sick or asthmatic,” he added.
Exposure to bad air quality may lead to initial symptoms like coughing, irritation in eyes and nose, sore throat, asthma or wheezing, and tiredness. But prolonged exposure may have serious consequences on health causing stroke, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even lung cancer. Pathak advised consulting a doctor immediately if these symptoms persist.
Asthmatic patients should carry their inhalers at all time. They can also increase their medication after consulting with their physicians if their symptoms worsen.