How are rising air pollution levels damaging our health?

The injurious effect of air pollution reflects in symptoms like itchiness in the eyes, throat allergies, headaches, and difficulty in breathing


NH Web Desk

Post-Diwali, there's been a rampant decline in the air quality levels, particularly in Delhi-NCR, with some AQI levels reaching absolute 'hazardous' levels.

While poor air quality is caused by a number of factors, including stubble burning & bursting crackers, air pollution is one of the most serious concerns we are facing today. The injurious effect of air pollution reflects in symptoms like itchiness in the eyes, throat allergies, headaches, and difficulty in breathing.

Air pollution, is in fact, one of the contributing factors as to why we are seeing more colds, coughs, viral fevers, swine flu and H1N1 influenza cases this year. This is something to be really concerned about, if the pollution levels continue to remain high.

Bacterial and viral infections, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections and other upper respiratory infections are often resultant of pollution.

The high levels of dust, smog and pollutants in the air tend to largely impact our respiratory system, and complicate matters for someone who is already suffering from compromised health conditions.

So what are the symptoms one needs to be careful of? Difficulty in breathing and coughing are some of the symptoms, which can be common with viral illnesses.If you get them, it is better to get a medical check up at the earliest since a lot of these symptoms can overlap with flu and other viral infections circulating in the air right now.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from pollution.

Keep a check on forecasts for smog or air quality, and plan your day (as much as possible) around these forecasts.

Limiting exposure to smog is important. It is advisable to keep your necks covered with the help of a scarf or something similar, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from burning.

Wearing masks is also important to prevent your lungs from being damaged by smog. It is also suggested that you do not go out early in the morning or in the evening, as the smog is heavier then.

Staying hydrated is important as smog is usually dense when the humidity is high and in such conditions, it is important to drink fluids during exercising and before and after that.

You must also try to exercise indoors as much as possible, so that the strenuous activity can be carried out in a smoke-free and air-conditioned environment.

While these are some tips to protect yourself from the poor air, you must also try and protect those who are more at risk of facing health problems, especially children, elders and people who have lung issues like asthma and heart issues.

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