Where’s My Breath Of Fresh Air?! 🌬️
Doctors say that breathing in Delhi is like smoking ten cigs a day. With air quality deteriorating for years now, what’s our way out?
As of August 2022, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai rank 1st, 2nd, and 14th on the list of world’s most polluted cities. A Global Burden of Disease study estimated that India accounts for over 42% of deaths due to asthma. The same study said that there are over 34.3 million asthmatics in India.
Asthma isn’t the only lung-related problem out there. There’s pneumonia, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that are also restricting the way Indians breathe.
The ever-expanding concrete jungles don’t make it any easier to breathe. In 2019, around 6.7 million people died worldwide due to air pollution; the mean life expectancy for the person affected due to air pollution is reduced by about 26.5 years.
Let’s look at the entire list of problems air pollution brings with it.
Air Pollution & Its Sources
Air pollution can be defined as any chemical or particle in the air that harms human or animal health. The chemical or particles, in this case, are called pollutants, and they can either be liquid droplets, solid particulates, or harmful gases. Pollutants don’t just affect living things, they’re also responsible for damages to structures.
Emissions from factories, cars, planes, and aerosol cans are the major causes of air pollution. Second-hand cigarette smoke can also be considered air pollution as it harms human health.
Effects Of Air Pollution
Air pollution can cause nose, throat, eyes, or skin irritation. Not just irritation, it can also cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea.
Long-term damages to nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs are also an effect of air pollution. It can even lead to serious lung diseases such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD, and lung cancer.
Fret not! You can breathe easy if you adhere to the following pointers:
🚭 No Smoking
Cigarettes are one of the significant causes of lung cancer and COPD. The smoke from cigarettes narrows your lung passages, making it more difficult to breathe with time.
Tobacco smoke causes chronic inflammation of the lungs, which can lead to chronic bronchitis.
Over time, cigarettes destroy your lung tissues and may result in cancer. If you smoke, you should quit; if you don’t, you shouldn’t start.
💨 The Air You Breathe
Make your home, car, and workplace smoke-free. Add some greenery (we mean real plants) to your home. Go to the countryside/gardens a little more.
Keep track of the air quality in your city and avoid stepping on bad air days; wear a mask if you must step outside during such days.
If you stay in cities that are ranked top on the list of polluted cities, consider buying an air filter for your home. And try not to contribute to the already rampant air pollution.
🦠 Avoid Infections
Infections can be hazardous to the lungs of the elderly. A simple cold or respiratory disease can grow into something serious quickly.
Arguably, one may not entirely avoid infections. But you can take preventative actions.
Wash your hands at regular intervals. Avoid crowded places if you know it’s flu season. Take care of your oral hygiene.
Stay hydrated and eat lots of nutritious fruits and vegetables. Stay updated on your vaccinations. For people over 65, look into pneumonia vaccinations as well.
Start exercising, especially breathing exercises; being physically active can help you maintain good lung health. When you exercise, your heart beats faster. Thus, your lungs need to work harder as your body needs more oxygen to fuel your muscles.
During exercise, your lungs work 3-4 times their regular capacity. Even basic activities like aerobics would help you work your lungs. The more you exercise, the more efficient your lungs become. It is recommended that you exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days per week.
🩺 Get Regular Checkups
With regular checkups, you can diagnose any existing problems you may have in your lungs. Lung diseases can often be asymptomatic until it’s too severe or too late.
If you do regular checkups and if something shows up, you can work in the right direction to improve your lung health.
Now off you go to relax and breathe a sigh of relief!
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