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Delhi Chokes From Severe Air Pollution Levels!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Delhi can’t breathe! The thick grey haze that has enveloped the National Capital Territory has left the whole of India worried. Recently, Delhi’s Air Quality Index shot up to 498 (very severe). Bad air quality can adversely affect the health of people. Delhi is in the middle of a climate emergency. 

Delhi Chokes From Severe Air Pollution Levels! - PharmEasy

What has triggered it? And how can the residents of Delhi save themselves from pollution? Read on to find out.

What contributes to Delhi’s pollution?

The primary cause of Delhi’s ‘hazard’ levels of pollution is the burning of stubble (the stalks of the crops after they are harvested) in agricultural fields. This happens extensively in Delhi’s neighbouring states, Punjab and Haryana. The wind carries the thick smoke from burning stubble towards Delhi and worsens its air quality.

A few other factors causing pollution in Delhi are-

  • Exhausts from factories.
  • Emissions from Delhi’s large fleet of cars.
  • Burning of wood (using wood as fuel for cooking).
  • Low wind speed and intrusion of smoke from stubble burning.

The risk of death significantly increases with long term exposure to polluted air. For instance, people susceptible to heart diseases are at higher risk.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Why should we be worried?

Delhi’s pollution levels are indeed a health emergency. Every year during November and December, Delhi’s PM2.5 (pollutant particles with a radius of 2.5 micrometres) level hovers around 300 – the normal range of PM2.5 level is 0-50. This puts Delhi in the ‘severe’ category when it comes to air pollution.

These particles directly enter our bloodstream through the lungs and cause severe damage. PM2.5 concentration in Delhi is currently 29.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

It may also lower people’s immunity and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disorders, lung diseases and epilepsy. 

According to the World Health Organisation, the rising levels of pollution is responsible for nearly one-third of the cases of stroke, heart disorders and lung cancers in Delhi.

Both short- and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, aggravated asthma and lower respiratory infections. Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable because their bodies, organs and immune systems are still developing.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj – M.B.B.S, M.D.

Air pollution is also linked to lung damage and limited lung function. Air pollution can also have an inflammatory effect on the heart – it can elevate blood pressure and aggravate pre-existing conditions of the heart.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

How can people protect themselves?

We can implement the following tips to minimise our exposure to pollution:

  • Always wear pollution masks when outside.
  • Only go out when necessary.
  • Exercise indoors.
  • Talk to your doctor about dietary supplements & immunity-boosting products.
  • Maintain good hydration

Consult a doctor if you experience symptoms like – 

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itching or redness in eyes
  • Running nose
  • Cough
  • Rashes on skin

Air pollution in Delhi poses a risk to everyone. Adopt the precautionary measures mentioned above to keep yourself safe from pollution’s harmful effects. People with pre-existing respiratory illnesses (asthma, COPD, pneumonia, etc), pregnant women and newborns need extra care and protection from pollutants. 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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