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How Air Quality And Lung Health Matters During COVID-19

By Shreya Gupta +2 more


India is witnessing a drastic change economically as well as epidemiologically. India has come a long way in the last few decades in terms of the economic sector, be it an improvement in the infrastructure of India or an increase in the industrial sector.

In the year 2020, COVID-19 emerged in India. COVID-19 mainly attacks the respiratory system that reduces the ability of the lung to provide the required oxygen to the body. The relationship between air quality and the COVID-19 virus has been under investigation in several studies. According to research conducted by Harvard University, a minor increase in long-term PM2.5 exposure causes a substantial rise in COVID-19 fatality rates. 

Air quality and COVID-19

Air Quality Index (AQI) is the EPAs index for measuring air quality. According to the Air Quality Index higher the AQI value, the higher the degree of air pollution and the greater the health risk.

Every day, an adult breathes in and out 11,000 litres of oxygen. Breathing fresh air increases the oxygen capacity of the lungs. When fresh air is combined with dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, then the oxygen content in the airdrops result in poor air quality. As we breathe, hazardous substances in the atmosphere enter the lungs. It harms the respiratory system, resulting in significant health issues including asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer and increased mortality. Therefore, maintaining quality air is essential to keep lungs and body healthy, making us less vulnerable to COVID-19. And if infected, a healthy immune system will help to fight against the deadly Coronavirus. 

As COVID-19 is a contagious virus, it can spread like wildfire. According to research issued by the World Bank, fatalities rise by 5.7 percentage points for every 1 % increase in long-term PM2.5 exposure. 

Lung Health and COVID-19

As said earlier, COVID-19 is termed as SARS; Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome harms the lungs particularly, which makes us incentivised to take more care of our lung health. People suffering from previous respiratory illnesses like asthma, COPD, allergic bronchitis, Pneumonia etc may face greater difficulty in recovering from Covid 19 infection. 

Some of the habits that are injurious to the lungs are: 

  • Smoking 
  • Using Tobacco Products 
  • Drinking Alcohol 

The practices mentioned above might lead to diseases such as pneumonia, cancer, etc. Studies have also shown an increase in the use of tobacco and nicotine products since lockdown. As lungs are already affected, fighting and recovering from COVID-19 Infection becomes difficult. It also reduces the immunity of the body to fight deadly COVID-19. Quit these bad habits today and shift to a healthier lifestyle.  

How Can We Reduce the Impact of Air Pollution on our Lungs?

Making an environment safe to live in is our duty. Reducing petroleum usage and reducing the use of products that produce carbon monoxide can help to reduce air pollution. As of now, when air pollution is at its worst, precaution can help us prevent lung damage. Specific steps to minimise the impact of air pollution on the lungs are: 

  • Wearing masks will surely prevent harmful substances present in the air to enter the lungs, thereby reducing the risk associated with COVID-19.  
  • Adhere to all the lockdown guidelines stated by the government to reduce interaction with polluted air. 
  •  Try to quit smoking today to protect your lungs from COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease. 
  • Regular practice of breathing exercises and pranayam can help in improving the capacity of your lungs.


Stay indoors as much as possible since the government has asked us to do so for our protection. Staying at home or having short-term exposure to PM2.5 puts residents in a safer position. Shift to a healthy lifestyle by consuming healthier food and engaging in exercise. If you are consuming any tobacco products, try to get help and quit them today. Keeping your lungs healthy will keep you protected from the virus and its effects. 

If you notice any COVID-19 symptom, get yourself treated before it ultimately damages your lungs and respiratory system. With the help of our healthcare workers, the government is doing its best to combat COVID-19 till then, wear a mask, maintain social distance and get COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.   

To know about the COVID-19 live update, visit https://www.mohfw.gov.in/.  

Disclaimer: This information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.  


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