Between cars, crop burning and crackers, everybody in Delhi has something to blame for the city's smog problem. That air pollution is on the priority lists of governments and the general public is a good sign. But it does not make the current situation any better for the million who live and work in the city. For now the immediate concern is how to reduce our exposure to the deadly levels of particulate matter in the air.
People most at risk from particulate pollution include those with heart or lung disease (including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), elderly, and children. Research shows that pregnant women, newborns, and people with certain health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, may also be more susceptible to PM-related effects.
Everyone needs to take steps to protect themselves when pollution levels are “hazardous” and above. Here are some quick ways you can implement right now to reduce your exposure to air pollution in your home:
1. Staying indoors
Staying indoors and reducing your activity levels are the best ways to reduce the amount of particle pollution you breathe into your lungs. While not a complete solution an air purifier can help clean indoor air. If you're allergic to indoor allergens air purifiers can go a long way in making things better. Placed in the most commonly used areas of the house, these devices, in particular ionic purifiers, can help capture some of the irritants that may trigger your symptoms.
2. Avoid smoking
Don’t smoke indoors. As much as possible avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs.
3. Indoor cleaning tips
Vacuuming the carpets and area rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Opting for hard-surface flooring instead of wall-to-wall carpeting may also cut down on allergens in the home. Regularly cleaning bedding, drapes, and other items that tend to attract allergens, can go a long way.
4. Use disposable respirators
Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from small particles such as PM2.5. Scarves or bandanas won’t help either. Disposable respirators known as N-95 or P-100 respirators will help if you have to be outdoors for a period of time. It’s important that you wear the respirator correctly.
5. Indoor plants
Indoor plants to freshen the air. While indoor plants have a limited impact on particulate matter in a room, they can absorb formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals found in the air. Buying a few indoor plants can do wonders to improve the indoor air quality in your home, while enhancing your home décor.