Doctor-recommend tips to maintain respiratory health with rising AQI levels in big cities

New Delhi: In today’s continuous hustle and bustle of life, one thing impacting nearly every individual is the consistent increase in air impurities.

Dr Aman Priya has evaluated that it can cause significant inflammation of the pulmonary sacs, resulting in fluid and pus accumulation. As air pollution levels rise in India’s main cities, especially Delhi NCR, safeguarding our respiratory health is our utmost priority.

The increasing prevalence of respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic infections, affecting nearly 30% and 12% of the population, necessitates immediate consideration. But what is needed? To protect our well-being, we must grasp the concept of the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the significance of taking proactive measures.

Understanding The AQI (Air Quality Index)

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a numerical scale based on the US system that provides information about air quality in a specific area. It considers various pollutants such as particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), ozone, carbon monoxide, sulphur and nitrogen dioxide. AQI scores are categorised as follows: 0-50 (good), 51-100 (moderate), 101-150 (unhealthy for sensitive groups), 151-200 (unhealthy), 201-300 (very unhealthy), and 301+ (hazardous).
Key Statistics

  1. India’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) currently stands at 153, with Ulhasnagar bearing the brunt at a staggering 457, reflecting the severity of the situation.
  2. Meanwhile, the AQI in Delhi NCR hovers in the range of 250-290. This highlights the escalation of air pollution, pushing Delhi’s air quality from ‘unhealthy’ to ‘very unhealthy.’
  3. The reported PM2.5 concentration in India surpasses the WHO 24-hour air quality recommendations by 5.1 times.

Importance and the Need to Take Precautionary Measures

In cities with high AQI, it is essential to understand the importance of protecting your respiratory health by adopting preventative steps. The following are some doable actions as suggested by Dr Aman Priya Khanna:

1. Avoiding Outdoor Activity When and Where Air Pollutant Levels Are Higher: It is advisable to stay indoors during the daytime or in areas with elevated PM levels. Check AQI forecasts and plan outdoor activities accordingly.

2. Maintain a Safe Distance While Walking, Running, or Cycling Outdoors: When outdoors, it’s essential to be mindful of your proximity to busy roads, as they often expose you to elevated levels of pollutants. Ensure you maintain a safe distance from such areas.

3. Be Thoughtful About Transportation: Choose eco-friendly modes of transportation, like electric vehicles or public transport, to reduce your contribution to air pollution. Carpooling and using bicycles can also help if you are not travelling far.

4. Add Precautions for School-Going Children: Ensure that your child’s school takes measures to minimise exposure to air pollution. This includes using air purifiers in classrooms and planning outdoor activities during less polluted hours.

5. Wear Masks: When going outside, wear disposable respirators known as N-95, not paper “Comfort” or “Dust” masks. N-95 respirators are effective in filtering out fine particulate matter.

6. Reduce Indoor Air Pollution: Follow the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. By practising these principles, you can minimise indoor air pollution, which often contributes to respiratory issues.

7. Invest in Air Purifiers: Using air purifiers at home can significantly improve indoor air quality by removing harmful pollutants and allergens.

8. Keep Indoor Plants: Certain indoor plants like aloe vera, areca palm plant, snake plant, and peace lilies can help improve indoor air quality by absorbing pollutants.

9. Maintain Good Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation in your home to let fresh air in and remove indoor pollutants.

10. Eliminate Combustion Activities: To protect your health and the environment, avoid activities involving combustion like wood fireplaces, gas logs, candles, incense, and smoking. These practices release harmful particulate matter.

11. Stay Hydrated: Drinking appropriate fluids helps your body eliminate toxins efficiently.

12. Diet and Supplements: Consume a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins, as they can help bolster your respiratory system. Consult a healthcare professional for guidance on supplements.

13. Regular Exercise During Less Polluted Hours: Exercise is essential for respiratory health, but choose less polluted hours for outdoor activities.

14. Seek Medical Advice: It is essential to seek medical advice as needed, particularly for individuals who may be more susceptible to the effects of rising pollution levels. As per Dr Aman Priya’s advice, Individuals with respiratory conditions should regularly consult their doctors and adhere to their guidance.

15. Spread Awareness: Encourage others to follow these respiratory health tips and raise awareness about protecting our lungs in polluted environments.

Key Message

In light of the escalating Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in major Indian cities, it is imperative to focus on respiratory health and proactively embrace preventive measures. By raising awareness of potential health risks, understanding the AQI, and taking simple precautions, we can collectively ensure a healthier and cleaner future for our cities.


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