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Steps for Easy Breathing in Polluted Cities

With the levels of air pollution steadily rising in cities, follow these 5 simple and effective ways to breathe healthy and prevent serious illnesses

  • 15 Dec 2017
  • min read

Very recently, a thick blanket of smog engulfed Delhi and shot up air pollution in the national capital to hazardous levels. Air quality readings in the city reached alarming figures, surpassing the 1,000 mark on the US embassy air quality index. The World Health Organisation considers anything above 25 to be unsafe.

The above measure is based on the concentration of fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, per cubic metre. These particles are smaller than 2.5 micrometres in diameter and particularly harmful, as they can infiltrate deep into the lungs and spread into other organs to cause severe health dangers.

The demands of daily life compels us to get out of our homes and expose our lungs to harmful pollutants. When their concentration reaches a critical level, it’s no longer safe to breathe outdoors. However, following few easy and affordable practices can help reduce the risk and beat toxic air in any city.

Predictive Outdoor Pollution Apps

Today, there are multiple sites and apps that give us predictive outdoor air quality reports. In early 2015, the Indian government had launched SAFAR-Air, country’s first mobile app to provide current and one to three-day forecast of air quality and related health advisories. The colour-coded system helps to easily comprehend the air quality, and decide on our outdoor plans.

Other apps that help monitor air pollution levels include Plume Air Report and Air Quality: Real time AQI. SatAQ’s website is a useful portal that provides information on air quality, and sources and causes of pollution.

The Right Respirator

Comfort masks made from cloth do not fulfil the purpose of adequate respiratory protection. Proper respirator masks make a seal with the face and have a filter that prevents contaminated air from entering the mouth or the nose.

When the levels of particulate matter touched disturbing levels in Delhi, it became crucial to get a respirator rated N95/N99/FFP3 or one which is ‘NIOSH Approved’, filtering out more than 95% of particles larger than 0.3 microns.

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Air Purifiers

The air inside our homes can be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air. It is, therefore, wise to invest in a good air purifier and filter that cleanses the indoor air.

While operating an air purifier, it is a good idea to turn it off regularly and open the windows, one room at a time for at least 10 minutes. This allows stale air from the previous day out and relatively cleaner air in. Remember to replace the filter more often than what instructions suggest.

Going Green

We should plant more trees, or bring in natural air purifiers like Aloe Vera and Spider Plant into our homes. They not only help with the air quality, but are also mood refreshers. Trees absorb air pollution and shield our homes against it. A test conducted by BBC found trees to reduce the level of particulate matter entering homes by 50-60%.

Staying Fit and Preventive

Experts suggest to avoid exercise, running or cardio workouts outdoors when the level of pollution is high. Breathing heavily while working out will draw polluted air deeper into the lungs, increasing the chances of respiratory ailments. It is also advisable to stay hydrated by drinking more water, vegetable and fruit juices.

A health insurance policy is a prudent tool to avail for those who suffer asthmatic or fatigue problems. It will give the family members peace of mind knowing that the medical expenses will be taken care of in an emergency.

Related Article:

Ways to Prevent Asthma Attacks At Home
How Can Fitness & Wellness Apps Keep You Healthy?

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