Invest In The Right Masks, Consumer Immunity-Boosting Foods: Tips To Stay Healthy As Delhi Chokes
In A Maze Of Dust
The past week has seen hazardous air quality levels in India's National Capital. Delhi has been covered in a thick layer of haze and dust, compromising the health of its residents.
As air quality worsens, a health emergency has been declared in Delhi - schools are closed, cars on the roads have been reduced with the 'odd-even' scheme, and construction has been halted.
The current crisis, that led Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to describe the National Capital as a 'gas chamber', has turned into the worst in three years. Smog levels have exceeded those of Beijing by more than three times, according to a report in news agency AFP.
Fourteen Indian cities including the capital are among the world's top 15 most polluted cities, according to the World Health Organization.
Even as environmentalists and residents call for measures to fight the pollution, there are some precautions that you need to take to stay safe during such severe conditions.
Small dust particles can lead to moderate to severe respiratory conditions like hay fever, common cold, cough, eyes and throat irritation, asthma, dust pneumonia chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD) and emphysema. It is advisable to spend more time indoors, rather than venturing out unnecessarily. Do keep the doors and windows closed as much as possible.
Masks To The Rescue
The quality of air takes a deep dip during and after the dust storms. The miniscule dust particles that include pollens, heavy metals, arsenic, fertilizers, virus, bacteria, salts, sulphur and pesticides can easily enter the lungs. People with respiratory problems and allergies face a lot of difficulty during this time. Health experts suggest wearing a mask both indoors and outdoors. Avoid the basic surgical and comfort masks. Opt for N95/N99/FFP3 or 'NIOSH Approved' that filter out more than 95% of particles (larger than 0.3 microns).
Sticking to the right dietary plan is one of the most crucial things to do during dust storms. The weather can lead to various illnesses like common cold, tiredness, sore throat, irritation in eyes and nose, ceaseless cough, wheezing and other respiratory problems.
To keep yourself safe and boost immunity in the changing season, plan your diet properly and include gooseberries, flaxseed oil, hot soups, olive oil, vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, vitamin E-rich diet, omega-3 diet, honey, garlic, neem, oatmeal, green tea, carrot juice, and pineapple extract.
Stay hydrated, opt to drink lukewarm water, and working out regularly to stay healthy.
Use Air Purifiers
No matter how many precautions you take, the indoor air quality is bound to get impacted by the outside air. If it becomes too oppressive, it makes sense to invest in an air purifier that helps remove up to 99.99% pollutants.
When deciding to buy an air purifier (starting from Rs 10,000), avoid ionizers and UV light-based air purifiers as they produce ozone. Always look for high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. The size of the room, the device placement, air changes per hour (ACH), and clean air delivery rate (CADR) are few factors that determine the efficiency of the air purifier.
Protect Your Family
Ensure that children, elders and ill people stay at home, and are well hydrated. Keep a constant check on their health and look for flu-like symptoms. If the condition persists for long or gets severe, visit a doctor immediately.