Not just Delhi-NCR but even the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab are under the blanket of thick smog. The condition is so severe that it has resulted in many accidents and even deaths. Government has ordered for schools to remain shut to save children from the harmful effects of pollutants and toxins, but people are not totally safe even in their homes. Many are opting for masks and air purifiers, but AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria on Wednesday warned that N95 masks and air purifiers are not completely effective in the current scenario, as there has been a high surge in patients with respiratory problems and there could be a high fatality rate.
With the major pollutants across all the monitoring stations in the region crossing the ‘severe’ level by Wednesday evening, here are a few tips and advisories from the experts Dr Rajesh Chawla, senior consultant (Critical care, Pulmonary and Sleep disorders) and Dr Mukesh Goel, senior consultant, Cardiology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
What to avoid: First things first, restrict your outdoor activity as much as possible. Not just early morning walks and jogs but outing in the late evening in this air will do more harm than good as walking uses more energy which makes breathing faster and leads to more inhalation of toxic particles in the air. This would have adverse effect on the health of people, more so for the elderly and children. Avoid functions in open during this period. So, even though winter is approaching, this is not the ideal time for a barbeque party. Also, stop indulging in junk and fast food. Oily or fatty foods can create additional stress in your body when dealing with the hazardous smog.
For patients with respiratory problems: Make sure to consult your doctors soon and keep all prescribed medicines and inhalers handy. Due to the sudden rise in pollution, it can cause a sudden asthmatic attack. In fact, doctors warn that with a smog of this stature even people who don’t have problem respiratory disorders may experience shortness of breath. In any case, it is advisable to consult a physician if the problem continues for long.
Home remedies for breathing trouble: As staying indoors is advised, there are a few tips one can follow at home if one feels out of breath or irritation in the throat. Smog can facilitate the spread of viral infections from small throat irritation, so it must not be taken lightly. Try to take a steam with a few drops of eucalyptus oil every day in the evening to relax your air-passages and help your body remove the harmful substances. Also, try to include neem, tulsi, and haldi in your everyday diet to give your body the extra edge it needs to combat the harmful smog.
Stay covered: Wear a mask at all time when you are outdoors. Ensure your eyes, nose, mouth, and ears are covered. While it is not a foolproof method, it certainly limits the amount of toxins we inhale.
What to eat: Try to consume fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. Have fruits like lemons, melons, grapes, papaya, kiwis daily to fight smog-related air-borne toxins. Among vegetables include peas, cauliflower, cabbage, okra, red bell peppers, broccoli in your daily intake.
Heart-related problems: Not just your lungs and throat, smog has a potentially harmful effect on your cardiovascular system as well. There have been many researches which proof the link of air pollution and heart diseases. In 2004, the American Heart Association issued a scientific statement concluding that exposure to air pollution contributes to cardiovascular illness and mortality. Hence, it is advised that heart patients or people at risk of heart diseases should take extra precautions to avoid further complications.