Did you ever go out only to feel if something was burning, but it wasn’t? You felt uneasy, coughing a little bit with a burning sensation in your eyes. If you happen to experience it now and then, you’re probably living in a highly polluted city. 

Pollution is a key concern in India, with major metropolitan cities falling prey to hazardous levels of air pollution. Every day you spend breathing the polluted air is a close walk to death and a hundred health issues that affect your overall well-being. 

Both short and long-term exposure to air pollution have a far-reaching impact on human health.  Shifting is the solution here. But if that is not on the table, then you may have to look for ways to protect yourself. 

In this blog, let’s explore the detrimental effects of chronic exposure to the deteriorating quality of air on human health and a few ways through which you can put your guard. 

The diverse health implications of air pollution

Respiratory problems: 

Growing evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to air pollution can put you at risk of a broad spectrum of acute and chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, birth defects, and so on. Studies have reported that acute exposure to fine particles can irritate the airways, leading to inflammation, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Cardiovascular issues: 

The inhalation of pollutants is the cause and aggravating factor of many respiratory diseases, heart attacks, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other cardiovascular diseases. The pollutants can enter the bloodstream and trigger inflammation, raise blood pressure, and promote the formation of blood clots thereby increasing susceptibility to heart diseases.

Allergies and irritation: 

Air pollutants not only have a direct or indirect effect on the individual but also act as allergens and induce the acute exacerbation of allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Additionally, research has linked year-round exposure to particle pollution such as nitrogen dioxide and ozone to cause eye, nose, and throat irritation.

Impaired lung development: 

Strong epidemiological evidence supports the inextricable link between air pollution and impaired lung development among children. Even moderate levels of air pollution are linked to long-term impacts on respiratory health.

Follow these tips to protect yourself from unhealthy air

Stay informed:

Before going out or engaging in outdoor activities, get into the habit of monitoring air quality reports in your area to know if the current air quality in your area is good, acceptable or poor. Many local environmental agencies provide reliable real-time air quality information. Plan your outdoor activities to protect yourself from the negative effects of declining air quality on your health.

Create a clean indoor environment: 

If you spend most of your time indoors, it’s critical to create a pollution-free indoor environment. Opt for healthy and environmentally friendly household products such as High-efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters for your house to prevent outdoor pollutants, such as fine particles and ozone. Opening the door and windows frequently to increase indoor air circulation is the most efficient technique to ventilate the space with fresh air and enhance indoor air quality.

Reduce exposure during high pollution days

Reduce the amount of time you spend outside when the air quality is poor, especially during rush hours when pollution levels are typically higher. If you must go outside, think about donning a mask that fits well and filters out contaminants.

Promote green transportation:

Fewer trips in your car or truck can help improve air quality. Use more environmentally friendly forms of transportation whenever possible, such as walking, cycling, or public transportation. Poorly maintained vehicles are a sure short way of contributing to air pollution. So, if you own a car, keep it properly maintained and keep your tyres properly inflated to reduce emissions.

Encourage measures that promote pollution prevention: 

Many professionals in the field of public health support measures that try to lower emissions from cars and industrial sources, as well as more stringent rules governing air pollution. You can contribute by promoting sustainable behaviours and the usage of renewable energy in your community.

Plant trees and greenery: 

Trees and plants act as natural air purifiers by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen during the time of photosynthesis. Support local greening initiatives and consider planting indoor air-purifying plants such as spider plants and peace lilies to help improve air quality indoors.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle:

In order to lessen the negative effects of air pollution on your health, it is advised that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and drinking plenty of water can improve respiratory and immune system strength, as well as people’s quality of life. You must also refrain from smoking. 

Closing thoughts

It is clear that good air quality is integral to health. Given this fact that air pollution is one of the greatest environmental risks to well-being, it’s important to note that while these steps can help reduce personal exposure to air pollution, addressing the issue requires collective efforts at the societal and governmental levels. By raising awareness, supporting clean technologies, and advocating for policy changes, we can work towards a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone.

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