As the particulate matter level in Delhi NCR and several other cities in India reach hazardous levels, cities are turning into gas chambers. This has led to a sharp rise in number of patients with respiratory disorders. People with sinus or breathing problems, elderly, kids and pregnant women are the ones worst hit by this dip in the Air Quality. With Diwali around the corner, the situation is expected to deteriorate further in the days to come. A few do’s and don’ts to help you survive the severe air pollution:
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There are two kinds of remedial measures that we can take to prevent the adverse effects of Air Pollution:
A) Instant Remedies to help you put up with the poor AQI
B) Long Term preventive actions to protect the environment
First let’s see what you can do to survive the present condition.
Instant measures to prevent adverse effects of Air Pollution
1. Drink a lot of water 2. Use the masks preferably N 95 mask which are disposable or reusable 3. If you exercise, do so only in Gym or closed areas. 4. Eat Healthy and green leafy vegetables & fruits rich in Vitamin C & E 5. Keep car windows closed when traveling
6. Wear sunglasses & keep yourself covered when stepping outdoors
7. Keep your home doors/windows closed during Diwali time Things to avoid during severe Air Pollution
1. Avoid stepping out and exercising in open especially in evening 2. Don’t smoke. The environment is studded with the equivalent of 40 cigarettes already
3. If you are living in non polluted area avoid coming to a polluted area unless it is essential 4. Don’t use normal surgical masks as they create false sense of protection while actually offering none
6. Don’t use barbecue fire inside close premises
7. Do not fall prey to Internet/WhatsApp remedies like burning camphor, cow dung or incense sticks to ward off pollution. There is no scientific evidence to such claims. Quite the contrary, the smoke, soot and particulate matter produced by burning these can pollute air even further. Bonus tips for extreme group (Kids, Elderly, Pregnant Ladies)
1. If you have pre-existing lung disease do take your medicine/inhalers regularly 2. Avoid evening outdoor play time for kids 3. Use N95 masks/vog masks/cambrdige mask if pollution risk is high. For small children use of mask must be under supervision as they may feel suffocated
4. Wash hands and face or take a shower after returning from outdoors
A word about Indoor Plants & Air Purifiers
The Air Purifier market is an emerging trend and you can find lot of specifications. Though scientific evidence is still struggling to find usefulness but something can be better than nothing. Air Purifier may provide some protection provided it is properly used, is adequate for your room size and the filters are cleaned regularly.
Indoor Plants: There is no definitive scientific evidence to say that indoor plants have enough good effect in reducing pollution so as to benefit the health. Plants with broad leaves may have some marginal air purifying effects but it is the outdoor plants that purify and clean air so in the long term, plant a lot of trees & save the environment.
(Dr Mayank Saxena is Consultant & Head of Dept, Respiratory & Sleep medicine at Yatharth Hospital, Noida, Sec 110)