The last few years have seen a drastic change in the environment. Every day new advances are being made in science that on one hand are providing us new technology while on the other hand are forming new ways to pollute the environment. Air Pollution is a problem affecting the whole world, and with each passing day, it continues to go up. Even though this is the time of changing the weather, it is not the variations in temperature that are causing health issues.
This year India is facing a new problem of overlying smog, with the air outside turned into a chamber of toxic gases. Stepping out for fresh air and exercise?
You might want to rethink. It is the cause of all the sneezes and irritation anyone is facing these days.
It’s just not the ambient air quality of the cities but even the air indoors is no longer safe to breathe in. Developing countries face the highest levels of pollution due to the highest exposure to upcoming industries and the manufacturing sector. Air pollutants are inhaled all the time, in an attempt to breathe in this toxic gas chamber. They cause various diseases and illnesses.
Air is made up of many kinds of gases, water droplets and dust particles in a specific proportion. Any mismatch in this proportion reduces the quality of the air or in other words, the air surrounding us gets polluted. Air pollution can affect anyone, any age, any region. Few of the most noticeable symptoms are as follows-
- Irritation– This mainly occurs due to the particulate matter being lodged in the eyes/nose/throat. The patient may subsequently have :
- Watering eyes
- Running nose
- Coughing and Wheezing– This is more prominent is patients with continuous exposure to polluted air.
- Shortness of breath– This generally happens with patients having a co-morbidity like asthma or congestive lung diseases. And exposure to the polluted air has just aggravated the underlying disease.
- Chest tightness– Reduced lung function and chest pain along with shortness of breath.
- Asthma Attacks– Increased hospitalization of the people with existing lung problems.
Is air pollution bad for my health?
For most people who are healthy and fir, the air pollution effects on the body go away with the depleting affects of the pollution. But there are certain people who are very susceptible to the changes in the environment and are the most affected by the changes in the atmosphere around them. The group of ppl who are the most susceptible to the changes happening in the environment includes:
- Individuals with heart disease
- Individuals with lung disease
- Pregnant women
- Outdoor workers
- Children under age 14
Children probably feel the effects of lower levels of pollution than adults. They also experience more illness, such as bronchitis and earaches, in areas of high pollution than in areas with cleaner air.
People who have heart or lung disease also react more severely to polluted air. During times of heavy pollution, their condition may worsen to the point that they must limit their activities or even seek additional medical care. In the past, a number of deaths have been associated with severely polluted conditions. Pollution this bad is rare today in the United States.
The health effects of long-term exposure to low levels of air pollution are currently being studied.
Related read: Air Quality Index India
Steps of Precaution
One can protect himself from the effects of pollution by taking some precautionary measures:
- Stay indoors as much as possible. Most pollutants are highly active during the early mornings and late evenings, at the time of peak traffic hours.
- Outdoor activities should be carried out during the daytime, while the sun is out. The sunlight helps kill most of the harmful bacteria in the air.
- In case of high smog levels in the area, use an air-purifying mask when stepping out of the house.
- Don’t exert or exercise outdoors during the times when the air quality is reported to be unhealthy.
- Keep doors and windows closed, during the days when the pollution is at its peak. In case, of suffocation take hot water steam to unclog the nostrils and chest
- Keep air-purifying plants in your bedrooms.
These steps generally help healthy adults in dealing with the effects of pollution. But in people with existing medical issues, it is important to consult a physician and go the extra mile to take the necessary precaution.