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In a recently conducted study, New Delhi scored an alarming 294 on the Air Quality Index (A unit that measures the rate of air pollution on a scale of 0-500, with higher numbers indicating very poor quality of air). The score revealed that the entire population of the capital city is living under a warning zone, where the adverse impacts of such high levels of air pollution can lead to serious health problems such as asthma, coronary artery disease and other chronic issues. However, rising air and smoke pollution seem to be a recent trend not only in New Delhi, but also in the rest of India. In fact, out of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities, 13 are from India!
In lieu of these grave statistics, it is important to be aware about the ways to safeguard ourselves from the hazards of air pollution. You can protect yourself from the risks of respiratory and cardiac problems, cancer, low-immunity related issues and lung problems, if you follow these 5 simple steps:
- You can use an N95 mask: The N95 mask is a protective respiratory mask, designed specifically to filter airborne particles. It may prevent you from inhaling minute particles that the air carries by acting as a protective barrier. Its name, N95, stands for the 95 per cent of very small test particles that the respirator has been designed to block. It can significantly reduce your risk of contracting respiratory illnesses. Simply wear this mask over your nose and mouth while travelling.You can easily purchase this device at your local pharmacy or at certain popular online stores.
- Avoid travelling during the hours of heavy pollution: Traffic blocks, which tend to spike air pollution levels, are common during office hours in metropolitans and megacities. To guard yourself from the harmful impact of fuel and smoke emissions, you can choose to travel either just before the office rush hour starts or after it’s over.
- Breathe in the fresh morning air: If you open the windows of your home every morning, it encourages the flow of fresh air. This allows all the settled dust particles and indoor pollutants to ventilate, thereby decreasing the level of pollutants in your home. This way you can breathe in fresh and pure air as it is less contaminated during the early hours of the morning. Also, you can try placing an air purifier at home as it may trap contaminants through its replaceable filter, ensuring the quality of air you breathe in at home is healthy and free of pollutants.
- Exercise at the right time: If you work out at the time of day when pollution levels are high, polluted air is drawn into your lungs at a higher rate since cardio-vascular exercises entail heavy and deep breathing. So it’s a good idea to pick your workout time wisely. Just after sunrise is an ideal time since the pollution levels are the lowest.
- Consume foods and beverages rich in antioxidants: Researchers have found that vitamin C deficiency may cause breathing and immunity-related problems. Regular consumption of berries, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, apples, plums, green tea, oranges, pomegranates, and lemon among other foods may help you in naturally overcoming health impacts of air and smoke pollution. These foods and beverages can help your body build a strong immune system. They may also prove to be powerful antioxidants that help prevent the onset of respiratory diseases.
Although these methods do not entirely curb the ill-effects of air pollution and smoke, they do go a long way in significantly preventing the impacts of air pollutants on your health. So adopt them to the maximum extent you can for a healthier lifestyle.