Air pollution is increasingly becoming one of the major causes behind people suffering from many chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart-related issues, etc. It is utmost essential that we take necessary steps to protect our families and ourselves against these life-threatening ailments. The first and the foremost step to curtail the problem is by changing our activities and making necessary adjustments to decrease the effect of pollution in our society. Many statisticians claim that every year, about 1.7 million people lose their lives due to increasing air pollution and environmental hazards.
The World Health Organization states that air pollution is a major risk to people with lung diseases or heart diseases. It can increase the chances of suffering from long-lasting headaches, asthma, bronchitis, etc. The main contributors of this problem are cars, motorcycle, heavy duty vehicles, and aeroplanes.
Short-term exposure to air pollution can
- Cause an asthmatic attack or worsen an existing respiratory or cardiovascular condition
- Lead to eye, nose or throat irritation
- Exacerbate pulmonary tissues
- Cause a heart attack and a plethora of other related infections
Long-term exposure to air pollution can
- Result in an array of pulmonary diseases
- decrease lung function
- Cause early death in people suffering from a lung or a heart disease
- Cut down lung’s capacity by 20 percent
- Cause significant health problems like irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma and mild heart attacks
Preventive Steps against Air Pollution
Indoor Air Pollution
Many studies confirm that air pollutants present inside a home are higher than those out in the outside environment. For instance, indoor cooking with biomass fuels produces smoke that leads to acute respiratory infections. The best way to keep our surrounding air clean is by adhering to some simple activities, such as turning on the kitchen exhaust fan when cooking food, try to avoid smoke indoors, do not constantly spay a room freshener as its ingredients can be harmful for the lungs, and so on.
To elaborate further, many household products give off gas pollutants and fine particles that can be dangerous for the body. Other pollutants that worsen a lung condition are as follows:
- Stoves or wood-burning fireplaces
- Fumes from dry-cleaned clothes
- Carbon monoxide
Experts state that smoking is injurious to health. It causes lung cancer and increases the risk of heart disease. While it’s just harmful for someone who smokes himself/herself but also for individuals present in the same surrounding. So, if you’re a smoker, quit smoking today. Or, if you accompany a smoker, stop being around the environment. Moreover, do not allow kids to be around areas where air pollution is maximum. The immune system of children is weaker than that of adults and hence, the chances of them acquiring air pollution associated diseases are comparatively higher.
Install carbon monoxide detector in your home to alert the danger. You can affix it on a wall or a ceiling. If you experience symptoms like persisting headache, dizziness, and loss of consciousness, it’s quite possible that you have a carbon monoxide problem.
Put a mat at every doorstep to reduce the amount of dust and bacteria that come along with dirty shoes and sandals. Don’t allow dust to settle in and around your home. Ensure to keep your indoors dust-free as much as possible. If you live in a polluted area, take out some time to pay a visit to an environment with a cleaner and fresher air.
Though keeping the windows open aids in proper ventilation, if you live in an area where air pollution is high, try to keep your windows closed for the better part of the day.
Use Low VOC level in the paint as it produces gases even after months of application. VOCs are carbon-containing compounds and have toxic chemicals like acetaldehyde and formaldehyde.
If you have pets at home, make sure to keep them as clean and tidy as you stay. This is particularly because pets attract allergies which they can easily transfer them to you. Avoid taking them for a stroll in high traffic areas as well.
A few other simple steps to minimize pollution at home:
- Beware of the dry cleaning chemicals
- Use dust-mite-resistant covers
- Change your bedding on weekly basis and wash them in hot water
- Check your fuel-burning appliances
- Buy good quality indoor air purifier
- Keep a lid on scented candles
- Ventilate the kitchen and bathroom
- Avoid toxic products
Outdoor Air Pollution
A complex mixture of many pollutants, outdoor air pollution has a great impact in many locations from categories like residential heating, vehicles, agricultural emissions, manufacturing and use of chemicals. It has been recognized as a source of discomfort for ages as odours, dust and smoke.
Avoid visiting places that are prone to air pollution, such as industrial areas, construction sites, waste disposal areas, etc. Each of these areas emit their own kind of hazardous gas which is harmful for the human system. If you have a breathing problem, visiting or being around these areas is a big NO!
Avoid travelling via auto-rickshaws during the peak hours of the day. Cabs are a good alternate option available at hand.
If the level of pollution in your city is increasing day by day, try to cover up your nose and mouth when you are travelling. Avoid travelling during peak traffic hours, especially crowded routes to reduce your risk of exposure to harmful gases emitted by vehicles.
Other necessary Actions of Prevention
- Avoid buy street food, especially from heavy traffic areas.
- Switch off the lights and save energy at home
- Make use of antioxidant-rich foods
- Get rid of plastic bags that are harmful to the environment
- Use solar energy to save money, in the long run
- Have a small garden area in your home with some rich plants. Plants aid in purifying the air.
- Limit your exposure to crowded routes and smoking zones.
- Ayurveda is the best preventive means to keep yourself fit and healthy
Living a healthy and risk-free life is in your hands. Your actions and decisions shape your future. Stay away from things and surroundings that exposure you to the risk of suffering chronic ailments. Keep the above mentioned points in mind.