The majority of Indian cities have been reeling under the air pollution problem, including Vizag for the last couple of days. While the Air Quality Index (AQI) indicates that the city’s index is currently at a moderate level, it is advised that the sensitive groups take requisite measures to stay safe. Doctors have also seen a surge in patients suffering from respiratory infections, allergies, and asthma.
Dr. Phanidranath from Pinnacle Pulmonology spoke about the rising illnesses with Yo! Vizag and elaborated on the two kinds of pollution – outdoor and indoor. “The ill-effects of outdoor pollution are discussed and well known, but the rising diseases caused due to indoor pollution are still not made aware of. Indoor pollution is caused due to cooking with no ventilation, burning incense, firewood and mosquito coils. I would suggest restricting the use of these products,” said the pulmonologist.
Dealing with pollution is two-fold: restricting indoor pollution, and protecting oneself while outdoors. If you’re worried about the poor air quality playing spoilsport in your plans, here are a few things you can do to stay safe while venturing out:
- Keep a tab on the AQI, and planning accordingly. You can easily check the AQI and air pollution levels of Vizag here. Protective masks are a must for people who are sensitive to dust. Protective glasses work brilliantly while driving.
- Discourage outdoor exercises – the want for fresh air can be tempting to go out on a walk, but it is best to bring the fitness regimes indoors if the air outside is toxic. Particularly avoid congested roads.
- Get your vehicle checked for pollution, regularly.
- Carpool as often as possible – if you take the same route to work every day.
- If you have school-going children, enquire about their games periods and request the administration to restrict them, as children are more prone to infections as compared to adults.
- Restrict smoking. Excessive smoking indoors can harm others more than it harms you. Dr. Phanidranath says there have been a surge in Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cases among people who don’t smoke as well. “COPD is a syndrome commonly found in smokers. I regularly see patients diagnosed with COPD even though they don’t smoke because the smoke is more harmful to passive smokers than to those who inhale it in.”
- Eliminate toxic fumes and sprays: Household cleaning products, deodorants, Candles made of paraffin wax, strong-smelling perfumes, expired hairsprays can cause allergies and infections due to the aerosol content.
- Indoor plants work effectively as air purifiers. Low-maintenance ones like the snake plant, aloe vera, jade, and rubber plant not just enliven your space, but keep the air significantly clean.
- Use protective gear while venturing out, and consider investing in an N99 mask, if you are sensitive to allergens. N99 air masks filter up to 99% of the particulate matter 2.5 from the air. While they don’t work well against oil-based pollutants, they are are safe to use because of the higher filter rate of particulate matter.