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Delhi air pollution: What are its harmful effects on health, and how to cope with it

The air pollution in Delhi can cause several ailments, ranging from premature birth to a decrease in lung immunity. We get an expert to recommend measures to prevent complications.

fitness Updated: Nov 08, 2017 11:39 IST
Asian News International
Delhi smog,Smog,Health
A dense blanket of fog envelops Anand Vihar in Delhi.(HT Photo )

In the wake of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) declaring a “public health emergency” in Delhi due to hazardous pollution levels, experts have warned people to avoid outdoor physical activities like cycling and jogging.

Delhi woke up to a blanket of smog on Tuesday with air quality touching hazardous levels. The air quality index was very severe with high particulate matter at a 2.5 level at many places.

Air pollution poses a major health risk and can cause stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases. According to the WHO, 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where the air quality is below the WHO standards. About 88% of premature deaths occur in the low- and middle-income countries, where air pollution is escalating at an alarming rate.

Dr Vikas Maurya, senior consultant & head of department from Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi, talks about air pollution and how we can protect ourselves from its harmful effects.

Smog can lead to wheezing and shortness of breath. (Shutterstock)

What are the harmful effects of smog?

* It can lead to the onset of allergies or aggravate existing allergies and decrease lung immunity.

* It might be instrumental in causing premature birth.

* It can decrease lung function across age groups.

* It might aggravate pre-existing lung and cardiac functions along with uncontrollable or chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

What are the preventive measures you can take?

* People should avoid going outdoors along with doing physical activities like cycling and jogging.

* N95 masks should be used if it is necessary to go out.

* Air purifying plants such as aloe vera, ivy and spider plant can be placed at home or in the office.

* To ensure that indoor air pollution does not take place, make sure that there is a chimney in the kitchen and an exhaust in the bathroom.

* Consume fruits rich in vitamin C, magnesium and foods rich in Omega fatty acids.

* Have herbal ginger and Tulsi tea.

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First Published: Nov 08, 2017 11:37 IST