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Harmful Effects of Air Pollution and How to Protect Yourself

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is a threat to a healthy life. And, India is in the bottom five countries when it comes to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). Air has ‘n’ number of pollutants that could be either natural or man-made. It affects everyone but majorly, people with respiratory diseases, heart diseases, children and pregnant women, older people and the ones who do outdoor exercise.

Exhaust from vehicles, burning of coal and wood, burning of crops, smoke from industries or manufacturing plants and population globalization are major reasons for increasing air pollution. And the impact of air pollution is dreadful. With an enormous amount of pollutants going in the lungs and blood, one can suffer from irritation of eyes, throat, dizziness, headaches, etc. But, there are other major health impacts such as lung cancer, asthma, kidney damage, mental illness, brain disorders and more.

How to protect yourself from air pollution?

Outdoor activity: Refrain yourself, especially children from outdoor activities such as walk or exercise, especially during the early mornings when the smog or pollution in the air is relatively higher. Level of toxins in the air reduces during noon and evening hours.

Respiratory mask: During high smog/ polluted days, make sure you wear masks whenever you step out of the house. N95 air mask and N99 VOG mask are two most popular respiratory masks. These can filter out 95%-99% suspended particles. These are durable masks that can be reused. Read more about masks here.

Air quality monitoring: It is not just about outdoor pollution, you also need to know about your office or home air condition. This small and portable device is extremely useful for schools, factories, hospitals and more. Air quality monitor gives an accurate carbon dioxide concentration in the area.

Air purifier: Once, you have identified the CO2 level in your office or clinic, it is time to purify the air with an effective air purifier. Generally, an air purifier shows you the pollution level in the room and cleans air with its three filters and emits out pure air. The three types of filters in air purifiers are pre-filter, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air filter) and carbon filter.

Kitchen and bathroom ventilation: Indoor air pollution can be worse if the air inside the room/office is not circulated. So, your office pantry or house should have a chimney installed in the kitchen and the bathrooms should have exhausts to throw out the stuck, polluted and bad air. Windows and doors can be kept open during noon time of the day as the concentration of PM is lowest during these hours.

Vehicle ventilation: Similarly for the car, bus and other four-wheeler vehicles, keep the AC switched on with indoor circulation mode and keep the windows open for some time when you start your vehicle

Detoxify yourself: in addition to office, factory, clinic or home, it is essential to detoxify yourself as knowingly or unknowingly you inhale pollutants that can damage your body. So, take steam eucalyptus oil, eat jaggery, ginger, Tulsi, and other anti-oxidant rich food to flush out pollutants.

In addition to these, avoid using too much of room fresheners, use vacuum cleaners often to keep the dust away. Keep respiratory care essentials handy such as nebulizers, lung trainer and more.

The above-mentioned steps can increase your lifespan and keep you safe during high pollution days. Life is long, hope you want to live it in a healthy and happy way!

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