Everyone is aware of the Smog that has engulfed Northern India in the past few weeks. The word ‘smog’ refers to a smoky fog that irritates the body when inhaled. It is a combination of nitrogen oxides, ozone, sulfur oxides, smoke and other pollutants. The condition is so severe that stepping outside homes has become a nightmare. The situation is even worse for elderly, as smog has a direct impact on their health.
The primary cause of this year’s unnaturally high smog in North India is believed to be a combination of Diwali firecrackers, vehicular pollution, and the annual residual crop burning in the States of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab. Although this is a yearly ritual that isn’t uncommon for the residents of Northern India, 2017 has seen the highest instance of dense smog in these States.
Let’s Look at the Statistics
This year’s smog shot up the Air Quality Index (AQI) to over 999 in some parts, which is 30 times the safety limit set by the WHO (World Health Organization). Delhi has now surpassed Beijing as the most polluted city in the world. The levels of P2.5, a very harmful and dangerous component of smog, are believed to be reaching alarmingly high levels.
These numbers are highly alarming because India is the country with 30 million people having Asthma. Various studies on Asthma have shown that it is more harmful to seniors over 60. This is one of many side-effects of air pollution on the health of general population.
Let’s see how else, air pollution and smog affect the seniors.
Harmful Effects of Smog on Seniors
Smog affects the human body in a variety of ways. Although the damage to the environment is obvious, not many of us are aware of how adverse an effect it can have on the body; and why preventive measures are insisted on. Special care needs to be taken to protect senior citizens from smog, because of the following health effects :-
- Coughing and irritation, difficulty in breathing, or breathlessness. Lungs of elderly have breathed in more pollution over the years and have more particulate matter in them. Hence, a smog situation can escalate respiratory issues, as compared to youngsters.
- The high ozone levels are a threat to asthma patients and can cause sudden bouts of asthma.
- Immune systems of elders are weaker, and hence, more susceptible to smog-related issues that occur with long-term exposure.
- Magnetic particles present in the smog have also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Higher air pollution index can cause greater levels of health effects in seniors owing to the fact that the human body becomes less resilient as it ages. Hence, they should be better protected, stay indoors, and use protective measures listed below.
How to Protect Yourself During Smog
Protecting yourself and your loved ones from the hazards of smog is very important. The following are some methods and devices that you should consider.
Air purifiers filter the air from your surroundings and give out clean air that’s safe to breathe. They are very helpful in preventing breathing trouble, coughing, allergies, asthma attacks, headaches, and other respiratory issues.
If you are considering to buy one, Honeywell’s Air Touch range of air purifiers filters air efficiently for clean and safe breathing.
The Air Touch A5 has a long lifespan of 3000 hours and can filter an area of 323 sq. feet wide and 9 feet high. It has an intelligent auto mode, child lock feature and low noise operation system.
The slightly advanced Air Touch Air Purifier uses a 3D airflow design to ensure complete intake and filtering by preventing blind spaces, an anti-fall base, touch panel, and completely covered filters. Other features of this purifier are similar to the A5.
Oxygen Cans come in very handy when you need to step outside the house. If you experience breathing trouble, inhaling the contents of the can help you feel better quickly.
The Oxy Sports Portable Oxygen Can is very useful outdoors, especially if you are involved in physical activities, such as exercise or sports. It helps to keep the stamina high and the breathing strong.
For regular use, the Oxy 99 Portable Oxygen Can works best. It contains 99% oxygen, which means you breathe in pure oxygen.
Both these cans aid in preventing/curing breathlessness, asthma attacks, headaches, dizziness and other respiratory problems caused by inhaling smog.
Masks are helpful in filtering the air that you are breathing in, to some extent. There are a variety of masks available on the market.
Vogmasks and Cambridge’s masks are examples of the top quality masks available in the market right now. They are both rated N99, meaning they filter out 99% of the air particles like pollutants and dust, as well as bad odors.
Smog is a harmful form of air pollution, but there is a lot that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from it. Taking preventive measures, such as using air purifiers, oxygen cans, and face masks will ensure that you don’t face any respiratory issues. You also need to keep the elderly and the patients, indoors, as much as possible. It ensures that they are not exposed to the harmful smog, and are safe, sound, and healthy.