Doctors are telling Delhiites to avoid morning jogs and keep washing their face as the air turns toxic
- Air pollution has been a serious matter, especially in Delhi, for the past few years and was the top risk factor for death in India in 2019.
- Business Insider spoke to a few health experts to find what precautions can the citizens to remain healthy.
- People with weak lungs are prone to suffer with problems like viral fever or flu due to air pollutants.
AdvertisementThe toxic air in India’s national capital region poses a serious health risk for its citizens. While policymakers, both at the state and centre, discuss and debate the possible mechanisms to make the air breathable, Business Insider spoke to a few health experts to find what precautions can the citizens to remain healthy.
According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people every year. “The effects of air pollution cause millions of premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections” says WHO report.
Air pollution has been a serious matter, especially in Delhi, for the past few years and was the top risk factor for death in India in 2019, killing an estimated 1.67 million people, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2019 report by The Lancet.
The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) says that the air quality in the national capital dipped to ‘worst’ from ‘very poor’ in the first week of November, making it more difficult for Delhiites to breathe fresh air.
Problems related to lungs due to air pollution can have both long and short term impact. “Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. It increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer. Both short and long term exposure to air pollutants have been associated with health impacts” said Dr. Shuchin Bajaj, founder director of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals in an interaction with Business Insider.
He further added, “High levels of pollution can also cause an exacerbation of your symptoms, such as an asthma attack or a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) flare-up. Research suggests that long-term exposure to air pollution can contribute to the development of some lung conditions. There’s good evidence that outdoor air pollution contributes to lung cancer”.
How to keep yourself safe during this severe level of pollution outside?
People with weak lungs are prone to suffer with problems like viral fever or flu due to air pollutants. “ People who have impaired lung immunity can lead to frequent lung and other viral infections which can be indirectly linked to viral fever and their symptoms can be like irritation in the throat, burning in eyes, and runny nose, sneezing with watery eyes,” said Dr. Azmat Karim, Consultant – Pulmonology at Fortis Escorts in Okhla, New Delhi.
“One should definitely avoid going for a walk or jogging in the early morning, especially when pollution is at a higher level. A normal COVID-19 mask may not be so helpful in this crisis, people will have to use an N-95 mask while stepping out of their houses,” Dr. Azmat Karim suggested when asked about precautionary measures one should take.
He further added, “ One should also wash their eyes and face frequently to avoid burning sensation in the eyes. People are also advised to take a proper healthy diet and take their medicines regularly to boost up their immunity, as it is the need of the hour”.
AdvertisementCan air purifiers ease the situation for Delhiites?
“Those with severe asthma or COPD may consider the use of air purifiers; there is no conclusive evidence that they help but they do reduce the levels of PM2.5 etc,” Dr GC Khilnani, former head of the department of pulmonology at AIIMS and chairman of PSRI Institute of Pulmonary and Critical Care, told Hindustan Times.
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