Air pollution in winters
Created by Dr Reetika Inderjeet Juneja Updated on Dec 05, 2017
Air pollution is not a new concept in India, however every year during this time it becomes a hot topic for discussion. This time is also no different. Right? No, this time the pollution is all time too high. In fact, air quality is so poor that you as parents are wondering whether the air you and your child are breathing is safe or not?
I am a Delhi-based mother of a toddler and with the increasing poor quality of air, I am worried about my child's health. He is suffering from a dry cough since past few weeks, and it tends to get worst during the nights making it difficult for him to sleep peacefully. His teacher told me that it is quite common with children these days and told me to exercise certain precautions to ensure that the rest of the winters pass of without further health problems.
So what is it about the air quality that is making our children sick and affecting their immunity. Let's see.
What Do We Mean Poor Air Quality?
When the air has extremely high levels of particulate matter known as PM 2.5, it is considered that air is not fit for breathing and the quality is poor.
Why Is PM 2.5 Dangerous?
PM 2.5 is considered dangerous because it is quite fine that is invisible to naked eyes but it is the prime cause of asthma and bronchitis in children. These matters come from many resources like firecrackers, burning of crops, trash burning, and vehicles. They don't settle down but remain suspended in the air making the air hazy.
What Is Causing Air Pollution?
- We are receiving air pollution from neighboring towns and industries present
- Firecrackers in Diwali
- Crop burning in adjoining states
- Trash burning in outskirts and roads to keep winters at bay
- Also the toxic fuels from diesel vehicles and CNG fitted cars
What Are The Worst And Best Times To Step Out?
Early morning 6-8 am and night time 9-12pm are the worst time to step out. The best time to step out is at 2-5 pm in the afternoon. Children spend more time outdoors than adults. They have higher oxygen demands so they inhale more air per unit of body weight as compared to adults. Their lungs are not yet fully developed so more susceptible to airborne diseases.
Steps To Fight Air Pollution
All said and done, things will take their own course of time to change but for now, here's what can you do to protect your child from the ever-increasing air pollution.
- Stay indoors: Try to keep them maximum indoors I know it's easier said than done, engage them in some indoor activities but considering the pollution level it would be hazardous to take them outside worst is early morning when they leave for school i.e. 6-8 am and in the night after 9 pm
- Travel only if you must: While taking them out prefer to travel in a car with windows closed and air circulation system set to re-circulation rather than pulling in air from outside. Afternoon 2-5 pm is the best time to take them out even though that time also the air pollution is more than double than the allowed limit. But at night and early morning its worst
- Air purifiers for your home: Consider buying indoor air filters for your home. Get your room air tested first before buying and then go with what's best. While buying the Purifier go for the real HEPA filters. The better the filter the faster it can reduce the air quality drastically. Always turn on the humidifier mode on otherwise it can make the air very dry in a closed room
- Plants keep the air pure: Plant more indoor plants, they help keep the air fresh and absorb, neutralize and remove some pollutants. Garden Mum, Bamboo, Aloe Vera, Money plant are some of them which can help reduce the PM level
- Build immunity through healthy diet: Go for some dietary changes and strengthen the inner defenses against the pollution. Foods that are rich in antioxidants should be consumed adequately. Vitamin A and C are what you should be looking at while feeding your little ones. All yellow, orange, green is for Vitamin A and all citrus fruits for vitamin C. Fussy kids will hard to feed so try options like lemon or orange juice favorite among kids, colored pasta with all colored bell peppers. Desserts like Gajar halwa can work. Try adding grated carrot to sooji porridge or chilla. Having a yellow milk or foods that help increase immunity is also important
- Mask are a must: Make sure your child is wearing the mask when you take him or her outside. These air masks are important to filter out dangerous air-borne particles. Either N95 or N99 rated masks which are well fitted i.e. no gaps to let outside air
- Breathing exercises: Make sure your child practices deep breathing exercise to inhale fresh air and clean the respiratory tract
- Eye drops: Buy the non-medicine eye drops which will help your child's eyes from burning sensation and redness caused by the high PM2.5 pollutant in the air
- Healthy regime at home: Maintain and increase hygiene standards at home like taking bath twice a day, wash hands regularly especially after returning from outdoors
- Spread Awareness in your own community: Help reduce trash burning in near societies and also Start using more of natural cleaning products and avoid all chemical detergents, look for home recipes for cleaning around vinegar and baking soda and be creative
Do you have some more tips to protect your child from the brunt of this ever-increasing air pollution? Share your views and feedback in the comments section below.
| Dec 07, 2017
| Dec 06, 2017
| Dec 05, 2017
quite a useful blog in this time of crisis especially in metro cities. . keeping doors and windows closed during early morning and night would also help in keeping indoor pollution at bay..