Contributed by: Healthians Team
In simple words, the release of pollutants that are detrimental to our health and that of the entire planet is called air pollution. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is one of the leading causes of fatalities around the globe as every nine out of ten human beings breathe air with AQI more than the guideline limits for pollutants set by the WHO.
In India, the air quality is declining constantly with more than one contributing factor and the condition gets even worse during winters, especially around and the days after Diwali. The blanket of smog and pollutants present a clear and present danger to our health. Air pollution is a serious concern and according to reports, some of the most polluted cities have more than 350 AQI, which is deemed hazardous.
Although the situation is serious for everyone, however, some segments of individuals need to take extra care to prevent the worsening of the condition due to pollution. These include:
Apart from them, elderly people and children are also at a higher risk of developing chronic health complications due to rising air pollution.
Air pollution can have severe ill-effects on the health of people who are suffering from respiratory issues, especially COPD.
Keeping this dire situation in mind, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) observes World COPD Day every year on the 17th of November to create awareness and share vital information about lung health.
The secondary aim of World COPD Day is to as well as the rise in respiratory complications, their dangers, and preventive measures. The theme for World COPD Day 2021 is ‘Healthy Lungs- Never More Important’.
In this article, we list down some of the expert-recommended measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from the onset of lung complications due to air pollution. Also, in case there are any pre-existing illnesses, these measures can help prevent their worsening.
Preventing measures you should adopt ASAP
- Avoid stepping outdoors
The rising levels of pollution cause immense discomfort for all, and especially those who already have respiratory issues. The effect of air pollution on our lungs is often compared to that of an injured lung due to asthma, other breathing disorders, and COPD.
This parallel is drawn because the particulate matter and other dangerous pathogens settle in the lungs and chest cavities, which can aggravate the condition.
Hence, those suffering from lung issues should avoid stepping outdoors, and should always wear a mask if moving out can’t be avoided.
A particular precaution that can keep your lungs safe indoors too is the use of air purifiers. Studies also prove that breathing exercises are extremely beneficial to curb the ill effects of pollution.
- Steam in, congestion out
Doing steam inhalation therapy and warm water gargle is a scientifically proven home remedy for cleansing the lungs. It helps in reducing the harmful effects of pollution by removing the pollutants that easily settle in the bloodstream and lung cavities.
Both these simple exercises also aid in minimizing the chances of getting sick due to the changing season.
- Add immunity-boosting foods
Strong immunity is very important to prevent the onset of illnesses and infections, as it helps the system to ward off pathogens and limit the effect of air pollution.
With the changing season and rapidly rising air pollution, make sure to take foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, and selenium which strengthen the immune and reinforce its effectiveness.
It’s also advisable to drink warm water instead of normal and cold and you can also add detoxifying teas and kadha into your daily routine to reduce the impact of pollution on the lungs.
Besides the air pollutants, another damaging factor for lung health is cigarettes. Make smoking a strict NO, especially if you have lung or breathing issues, to greatly reduce the risk of aggravation of your condition.
- Skip going out, not working out
Increased pollution can easily hinder your workout routine as going out becomes unsafe due to poor air quality and smog. Instead of skipping the workout altogether, consider working out indoors or at a time when pollution levels are low especially early morning.
Regular exercising boosts the immune system and is highly beneficial for people with diabetes, blood pressure, and respiratory conditions. Simple physical activities like brisk walking and jogging also aid in painting your overall well being.
- Don’t delay the covid-19 vaccination
The negative effects of pollution constantly reduce the efficiency of the lungs, thereby significantly increasing the risk of contracting covid-19.
Remember, weak lungs are an open invitation to the covid-19 infection. If you haven’t taken the jab yet, get it now and reduce your risk of getting infected by this life-threatening illness.
- Install air purifiers at your home
You aren’t entirely safe from the effects of air pollution. Though the magnitude might be lower than the outdoor, yet the effects can still cause serious damage.
Sure, you can’t control what happens outdoors, but taking preventive steps against air pollution being indoors is definitely in your control. Here’s what you can do:
Plant air-purifying plants to build a natural defence against the pollutants
Install air purifiers that can filter the indoor air and allow you to breathe easy.
Sprinkling some water on the street around the home
Clean the AC and chimney vents regularly
Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpets and curtains, instead of dusting them off indoors
Air pollution is a serious concern rising at a very fast pace causing serious health issues in the masses.
To avoid and prevent the dangerous effects of air pollution, the implementation of preventive measures in terms of hygiene, diet and daily routine is a sure-shot way towards keeping this environmental evil away from you and your loved ones.
Also, by opting for regular health screenings, you can stay on top of your health condition and take preventive measures in the event that you are likely to be hit by a disease, which might cause breathing complications.