The risk for the world environment is highest from air pollution. Many of our metros like Chennai face air pollution.
What is air pollution?
Air pollution is unclean, unsafe air mixed with dust, smoke or gases.
What causes air pollution?
Air pollution is caused by aerosols of some gases or solid and liquid particles suspended in the air. They can come from factories, vehicles exhaust, dust, wildfires, pollens or volcanoes. Sources of air pollution indoors are detergents, shoe polish, paints and aerosol sprays.
Who is at risk for air pollution?
People living near extensive industrial facilities or polluted urban areas are at the highest risk of air pollution.
Effect of air pollution:
The effect of air pollution is not just some dust on the face or damp hair. The ill effect of air pollution goes far beyond bad hair days and dirty skin. Air pollution also crosses boundaries to affect the entire world. As winds carry some air pollutants, air pollution crosses continents, affecting global weather and climate. The aerosols or contaminants can be harmful to our health. It can cause health disorders like asthma, heart disease and cancer.
Long term exposure to air pollution plays havoc on your skin health. Smog and dust combine with the sun’s ultraviolet rays to create free radicals. These free radicals deplete oxygen levels in the cells of the skin and disrupt the production of collagen. It can result in dry, wrinkled, greyish skin with acne and patches.
If you stay in a polluted city or town, make it a point to have regular health checkup to prevent any health complications. Invest in a good health card so that your financial worries don’t add to your stress.
Protection from air pollution: It is essential to protect your health from air pollution. Eminent dermatologists in Chennai have suggested the following tips to prevent toxins from air pollution from causing health damage.
- Forecasts: Local air quality changes with time due to the impact weather patterns. Educating yourself about air pollution in your area by checking daily air pollution forecasts. You can plan your activities according to the forecasts. Shut your doors and windows when the air quality is poor. Switch on the fans and air conditioners.
- Sunscreen lotion: Use a high-quality waterproof sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before venturing out. Even on a cloudy day, 80 per cent of radiation from the UV rays reaches the earth. Sunscreen reduces exposure to UV rays and protects against skin damage and skin cancer. Dermatologists in Chennai recommend sunscreen lotion according to your skin type.
- Exercise: When the air pollution levels are high, avoid exercising outdoors. Restrict outdoor activities for your child if air quality is poor. When the air quality is unhealthy, you can work out indoors or in a gym. Vehicles in high traffic zones can create air pollution up to one-third of a mile away. It is better to avoid exercising near high traffic areas. You can walk, bike or jog in areas with less traffic with lesser exhaust levels.
- Carpools and public transport: Walk, carpool or ride your bike to work. Use public transportation like buses or trains instead of driving your car.
- Seasonal products: On a visit to the supermarket, you can pick up a fruit or vegetable or another eatable from any part of the world. Your favourite food items have to travel long distances to make it to your supermarket. While buying these items, you also pay the price for air pollution caused by long-distance transportation.
- Save energy at home: The more you generate electricity and other energy sources, the more you contribute to air pollution. When you reduce the use of energy, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. During the daytime, open the curtains and let natural light in. Use LED lights. Unplug appliances that are not in use. Don’t switch on the air conditioners continuously, even in summer. You can open the windows at night and switch on the fans. Learn to use appliances smartly. For instance, your washing machine should be complete before you run it. The same goes for your dishwasher.
- Nutritious diet: A diet that is rich in antioxidants strengthens your immune system. Include plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, eggs and fish in your diet. Eat citrus fruits or drink lemon water to get vitamin C. Avoid processed food, ready to eat foods and reduce intake of sugar and salt.
- Clean filters: Regularly cleans filters of air conditioners and heaters. If your house is exposed to dust, you may have to replace or clean filters frequently.
- Burning firewood: Burning of firewood or trash should be strictly prohibited as wood smoke contains many toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. It releases carbon that can accelerate climate warming.
- Smoking: Smoking can cause multiple health issues and age your skin rapidly. If you are a smoker, please quit this habit. Both first hand and second-hand smoking can cause health and skin damage. Smoking narrows blood vessels in your skin, damages collagen and causes premature wrinkles.
- Air-purifier: Buy an air purifier for your home, especially if you live in a polluted city. Air purifier filters pollen and pollutants out of the air.
- Supplements: Apart from a nutrient-dense diet, you may need to use nutritional supplements to get antioxidants. With age, your absorption capacity decreases. Secondly, the soil has, over the years, become depleted of nutrients due to environmental damage. Your dermatologist may prescribe supplements like vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E and probiotics. With a health card that lets you pay in EMIs, your financial worries are ably looked after.
- Cleanser: Use a mild cleanser regularly and exfoliate your skin twice a week to remove pollutants from your skin.
Make sure to follow all these tips and protect yourself from air pollution. Spreading awareness about air pollution is crucial as we need more and more people working united worldwide to conquer air pollution.