Delhi’s air pollution level hit a new high this winter, leaving people gasping for breath. The smog that blankets the city is a result of high air pollution combined with no-wind cold weather conditions. “With little or no signs of improvement, we, on an individual level, have to find ways to beat it,” says Dr Walia Murshida Huda, Senior Medical Officer, Healthians.
The dip in the air quality poses health concerns particularly for children, the elderly and those suffering from lung diseases and asthma. Many also experienced itchy eyes and irritation in the throat. Smog-laden air can lead to burning eyes, dry throat, itchy skin, cough, irritation in the nose and an increase in breathing problems, lung diseases and asthma and a rise in blood pressure.
Here are a few effective steps to help you fight the battle against pollution:
*Limit your outdoor exposure.
For children and senior citizens, it is advisable to stay indoors as they are most sensitive to poor air quality. Avoid going out during peak hours when pollution is extremely high. Any outdoor sports activity should be avoided, as well as morning and evening walks.
*Deep breathing exercises.
Certain breathing exercises can help keep away the toxic effects of air pollutants. Yoga exercises practised indoors will help. A deep breathing exercise like Pranayam is recommended on a regular basis.
*Wear a mask and full sleeve clothes.
Do not forget to wear full-sleeved clothes and a mask when you step out. N95 and N99 pollution masks are effective in the given circumstances. If you do not have a mask, use a clean cloth to cover the mouth.
*Eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids.
Vitamin C and omega fatty acids will help boost immunity. Add jaggery, tulsi, honey, ginger, lemon, basil leaves and lots of water to your daily diet. Warm water with a dash of honey and two-three tulsi leaves in the morning will help.
*Steam with eucalyptus oil.
Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to hot water and inhale the steam. This acts as a natural purifier for the lungs.
Wash your hands and face every few hours. Change your clothes when you are home from work. A hot shower may help in removing pollutants from your body.
*Avoid two wheelers and auto-rickshaws.
Travelling by an auto-rickshaw and two wheelers will increase your exposure to toxic air. It is advisable to use various modes of public transport such as a bus or a metro or carpool.
*Purify the air indoors.
Plants like money plant, areca palm, chrysanthemum, aloe vera and ficus will help purify the air indoors. If you have kids, elderly or asthma patients at home, it is advisable to invest in a good air purifier.