Air pollution is one of the major problems behind the onset of various diseases and conditions. It can affect human health drastically. From causing respiratory diseases to cardiovascular damage, and irritation to eyes, air pollution can affect your life drastically. This is what a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has revealed.

Thinking why we are suddenly talking about air pollution? Well, look around you and you will get the answer. Post-Diwali, Delhiites are experiencing extremely high levels of pollution in the city. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the recorded air quantity index at11 am today was 416. And this number is quite dangerous and severely affecting.

According to Dr. Arvind Kumar, a lung surgeon at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, “Intake of every 22 micrograms per cubic meter of polluted air is equivalent to smoking a cigarette. So, whether the PM2.5 level is 700 or 300 units, the impact is still as bad. People need to take precautions, especially those suffering from asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory illness.”

A blanket of smog wrapped Delhi just after the Diwali night and it is making the lives of people a bit difficult. Shiv Kumar Pandey, an autorickshaw driver, said, the worsening pollution level makes it difficult to drive through the streets, as bad air causes irritation in eyes and skin. Well, nothing can be done about it now as you reap what you sow.

Notably, the current situation in Delhi is extremely severe and can cause various immediate health problems other than respiratory problems, says Dr Vikas Maurya, head of the department of pulmonology and sleep disorder at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh. He also said that the pollution level can damage cells in the respiratory system, and can lead to diseases including bronchitis, emphysema, and even cancer. Additional, excessive stress on the lungs and heart can lead to herded work to supply the body with oxygen causing faster aging of the lungs. Now that the level of pollution has risen up, here are some of the dos and don’ts suggested by doctors:

  • You must avoid early morning and late evening walks as the concentration of pollutants is highest during this period.
  • Schools should avoid outdoor assemblies, sports activities and other physical activities in the early morning hours.
  • Make sure you wear a mask while going outside and the right mask needs to be worn. Avoid surgical and comfort masks as it doesn’t allow proper respiratory protection. A respirator that is rated N95/N99/FFP3 or is ‘NIOSH Approved’ that filters out more.
  • Do not do cardio exercises as these workouts can increase the chances of respiratory ailments.
  • Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated. Also, consume vegetable juice and fruit juice.
  • Keep allergy kit ready with required medicines, inhalers and nebulizers, if any family member has a respiratory illness.

With inputs from PTI