This year the smog seems to be strangulating Delhi and NCR already, even well before Diwali. Correctly defined, smog is a mist or fog which is filled with pollutants like particulate matter (PM) and smoke to be made denser making breathing hazardous. It causes a dense haze which chokes all those who must be out in the open, and inhale the poisonous air directly. This aggravates the suffering of people who might have any of diverse respiratory problems like asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema. Others might experience smarting of the eyes, redness, itching, or continuous watering of the eyes and nose. Sinusitis flares become common.
With the air quality dipping to very poor in several cities across the country, it is vital that you have a tactical plan in place to protect yourself and your family from the worst effects of the killer smog smothering everyone. You don’t want to be one of the statistics involving victims of the smog. So, don’t wait for the political administrators to do something. Assess the air quality of the area you live in, of the places you need to visit frequently or even daily, and of the area where your workplace is situated. It is easy enough to find out.
Use air filters in your home and workplace to ensure that most of the time you breathe clean air. Alternatively, wear a pollution mask to filter out at least the particulate matter from the air you breathe, especially when you need to be outdoors. Ideally, it should have a carbon filter and an exhaust valve to eliminate the carbon dioxide you exhale. However, be wary of filters which offer active filtration as they alter the molecular structure of PM, generating by-products like formaldehyde which might create more issues than they resolve.
Don’t forget to wear eyeglasses when you step out to minimize exposure of the eyes to smog. Always rinse your eyes with clear, cool water when you come in from outside.
Diet is a critical factor of your life. It affects your natural strength, natural cleansing of your system, and control of various hormones released in your body. Drink plenty of water. Nothing cleanses out harmful chemicals from your system better than water. Also, it ensures that you are properly hydrated. Add jaggery (gur) to your regular diet to aid your liver in cleaning your blood. Go easy on dense animal proteins, but eat significant portions of fruits and vegetables spread over the day. Snack off fresh or dry fruits and nuts when you feel nibblish. Alkaline fruits like cantaloupe, pomegranates, coconut water, and musk melon are good for countering the acidic impact of smog on our bodies.
Fallen leaves, cut grass, and other biodegradable waste should not be burned. It only adds to air pollution by increasing suspended particulate matter in the air and smoke. Use clean fuel.
You should add natural vitamin C in the form of citrus fruits like oranges, mausambi or sweet lime, fresh lemons, grapes, cranberries (karaunda), and grapefruit to your normal diet to improve your immunity. Herbal teas like mint tea and ginger tea, or normal lemon tea help rinse out toxins from your body while improving your immunity. You will suffer less from the adverse effects of the smog enveloping you if your bodily constitution is strengthened.
Allergies can get aggravated by the bread which has yeast in them. The homemade rotis and parathas are much safer food. In fact, if they are stuffed with greens like spinach and bathua sag, or the flour is kneaded into cooked daal; they improve your overall health. However, be cautious about eating too much-fried food. Try and drink warm water, or gargle with salted warm water to clean the throat.
Make nature your biggest ally in your search for clean, fresh air to counter the extreme fatigue which continuous inhalation of polluted air causes. Aloe vera, money plant, bamboo plant, dracaena, and peace lily are the best plants to have in your home to help de-stress and cleanse the air inside. Snake Plant (Sansevieria rifasciata), pothos, and philodendron increase the oxygen level within your home.
You might end up inhaling more toxic air if you exercise outdoors, or go for a run in the evening. Limit outdoor activities. Try and exercise indoors with spot jogging, back bending, and any exercises which help you blow out air. Breathe normally, and perform any deep breathing exercises only indoors.
If you continue to experience breathing distress; headaches which refuse to go away; dry eye syndrome; or sore throat which refuses to respond to normal over the counter drugs; then consult a doctor immediately.