Once again, the capital city of Delhi has registered a dangerous spike in the air pollution level, making the residents prone to a number of respiratory diseases. Moreover, with the upcoming festival of Diwali and the winter season slated to arrive soon, the situation is only deemed to worsen, making it harder to breathe, especially for the senior citizens.
Even with the obnoxious rate of pollutants, as residents of Delhi, you can follow certain simple steps to live through the dusty smog and avoid health problems like asthma, bronchitis, COPD and other lung diseases and certain cardiovascular disorders as well.
We share with you 12 indispensable solutions you should adopt immediately, because after all, prevention is better than cure.
Even though outdoor exercising is known to offer us a breath of fresh air, in this case, the lungs will be exposed to a higher level of pollutants and particulate matters in the morning and evening hours. Avoid strenuous activities in the morning and the evening.
Tip: It is recommended to download the Sameer App from Google Play Store which displays the Air Quality Index (AQI) every hour. Take a look at the AQI before you step outside in your running shoes.
|Less than 300||Light workout|
|Less than 200||Regular activities|
Most of the pollutant particles can penetrate our lungs through the nasal and oral opening. So, properly covering your mouth and nostrils is a must. A surgical grade pollution-protection mask is easily available at any medical store near you.
|N99||Filters airborne particulate matter with 99.97% efficiency||Unlike N95 masks, these are not resistant to oil-based pollutants|
|N95||Filters airborne particulate matter with 95% efficiency. Also protects against oil & oil-based pollutants||Slightly less efficiency than N99|
Cover yourself well while commuting to protect your face and skin against the harmful effects of toxic pollutants. Full-sleeve clothes, scarves, helmets are recommended by experts.
The air inside your home must be kept cleaner than the outside environment. The simplest and most cost-effective way to do so is by adding potted indoor plants. Easily available plants like Aloe Vera, Snake plant, Spider plant, Areca Palm, Lady Palm, Rubber plant, Fern etc. are known to purify the air by removing toxic gases and air pollutants
In fact, the leaves of the medicinal plant Aloe Vera are highly potent to relieve asthma symptoms, when boiled in water and the vapour is inhaled.
Snake plant is gifted with the unique mechanism of releasing oxygen even during night, helping you in a peaceful sleep.
Areca palm releases ample amount of moisture in the air which will keep the home humid and dust-free during the dry winter months.
Moreover, some of these plants exude a subtle fragrance which uplifts the mood and alleviates stress.
A humidifier helps to maintain adequate humidity inside a room, especially in the dry winter season. Relieves discomfort like cough, sneezing, respiratory congestion, sinus, inflammation and itchy sensation on skin - which occur due to persistent air pollutants. By efficient diffusion of moisture all over the room, the humidifier lets the air pollutants settle down.
Advanced humidifiers like Beurer Air Humidifier also allows to diffuse essential oils in the room for aromatherapy and relaxation over extended hours.
Air Humidifier LB 44
Every house requires proper ventilation and sunlight. However, keeping the windows and doors open on heavily polluted days with a deplorable AQI can cause more harm than help. Ideally, keeping in mind the Delhi climate, experts recommend that ventilation should be allowed strictly between 3 PM and 5 PM on sunny days.
Not only the inside of your house, but the environment surrounding it but be kept clean and fresh to protect the health of your family, particularly the seniors and the children.
Using a sprayer, water can be sprinkled frequently on the premises of your house and the adjoining roads to settle the dust and dirt particles. After all, slightly muddy shoe soles are definitely better than a consistent dry cough.
Sweeping the floors is a common regular practice, however, in highly polluted environment, sweeping with a broom can add to the troubles of respiratory patients as it spreads the microscopic dust particles around. Instead, a wet mop soaked in warm water should be used for keeping the floors clean. Disinfectants and fragrances can be added accordingly to get rid to the pathogens, allergens and damp odour. A bit of baking soda can be added while mopping to remove stains.
In your daily diet, opt for including more fresh fruits and vegetables with high content of Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene (antioxidant for vitamin A). These compounds help to cleanse the metabolic system and detoxifies the body. A chart has been provided for better convenience.
|Name of Compound||Found In|
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, musambi, grapefruit, kiwi, guava, strawberries), tomatoes, green chilli, bell peppers, broccoli etc.|
|Vitamin E||Almonds, peanuts, apricots, kiwi, red/green bell peppers, mustard greens (Sarson Ka Saag), papaya, tomatoes, parsley, butter, margarine, vegetable oil, fish etc.|
|Beta Carotene||Fruits and vegetables with yellow & orange pigment like carrots, red and yellow peppers, apricots. Also found in spinach, parsley, broccoli, chilli etc.|
Switch the sugar in your food with jaggery (gur) as the latter has excellent properties to flush out toxins from the body. Loaded with antioxidants, jaggery keeps the liver healthy by removing the harmful toxins. It also promotes stronger immunity to combat against allergies and other diseases arising from pollution.
“Jala Neti” or nasal lavage is an acclaimed traditional practice which cleans your nasal passage from dust particles, persistent air pollutants like smoke particles, ash, pollens, debris etc. It is essential to do ‘jala neti’ at least once a day after coming back from outside.
Every time you go outside and is exposed to the polluted air, make sure you wash your hands always, preferably with a disinfectant handwash, toilet soap or soap paper. In case water is not available, a hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative before you dive into your food.
Washing your face and eyes frequently with clean, cold water is also recommended to keep the skin safe from allergies.
It is quite likely that such a heavy level of pollution can cause breathing difficulties in seniors, children or even adults. In case you are facing trouble to breathe, contact your doctor at the earliest. Delaying can lead to major respiratory complications.
Make sure you abide by these 12 pointers to prevent respiratory diseases amidst the severe air pollution.
By Sayani Chatterjee
Guest Author and Student of Biotechnology
Breathe Easy: 5 Ways To Improve Indoor Air Quality, WebMD | 21 simple ways to improve the air quality in your property, Envirovent | 6 Natural Ways to Purify Air at Home, NDTV Food | Improve quality of indoor air, THE HINDU
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