As Delhi gets ready for winters, people specifically parents are worried as the skies are laden with thick gray clouds and heavy smog. Pollution levels have increased 10 times more than the safety limits, thereby labeling the city as a gas chamber.
To add to the woes, Indian Medical Association has declared the condition as a public health emergency and have requested people not to step out of their house. So much so even the schools have been asked to suspend outdoor activities. Walking and breathing in this smog-laden atmosphere is equivalent to smoking almost 50 cigarettes in a day.
While everyone is being affected by the enormous rise of pollution levels, it is the children who are being affected most. Just imagine, their future … breathing through oxygen cylinders. I can already visualize this.
When to Step out of the House
- If you are the ones who love going out for morning walks then you should refrain from going out between 6-8 AM as this has been marked as the worst time of the day. This time of the day is also the time when children are getting ready to leave for school.
- Night time, especially from 9 PM to 9 AM is considered to be twice as hazardous than the daytime. Imagine being exposed to pollution levels while sleeping.
- The best time to go out is when there is some sun, to be precise from 12 in the afternoon to 5 in the evening, though there will be variations in the quality of the air.
How to Fight Against Air Pollution
Well, you can do plenty. Just by making some changes in your daily life can help you combat pollution thus in turn protecting your family. Here are some must-dos to combat air pollution:
1) Change in diet: As per the doctors and nutritionists, when a person is exposed to high levels of air pollution, there is an increased formation of free radicals in the body which are believed to reduce the functioning of the normal and otherwise healthy tissues. To protect against the formation of free radicles, one must eat food that is rich in antioxidants like fresh vegetables and fruit. Make sure that these are loaded with Vitamin C and Vitamin A
To ensure proper consumption of Vit A and C fruit and vegetables like lemons, oranges, amla, tomato, broccoli, sprouts, and guava should be included in the diet. Minimum of 5 portions of veggies and fruit should be served. To get a fussy child to eat, it is best to mix grated carrots or pureed spinach in the flour or dal.
Try to cook one meal with olive oil as it is believed to have a protective effect against the ill effects of air pollution.
2) Is it safe to play outside: Before you send your child out ensure:
- To check websites like Delhi Pollution Control Committee, SAFAR India, and Air Quality Index. These allow us to keep a track on the real-time air quality in Delhi and other places.
- Make sure that they wear a mask which is good enough to filter the PM 2.5. Opting for N95 or N99 masks is advisable. These are good quality masks with filters of high quality and effective enough to keep the particulate matter out. Buy Here
3) Also, keep in mind: While you are taking the necessary steps to change your diet and check the air levels don’t forget to:
- Use an air purifier at home. Air purifiers with Hepa, carbon, and pre-filter are appropriate for use especially for children, pregnant women and old people. Buy Here
- Ventilate the house between 3-5 PM as at this time of the day the PM2.5 levels are lowest, and that too on a bright and sunny day.
- Keep plants at home as they help to purify the air around you.
- Throw water in front of your house or in your balconies. This helps to increase the moisture in the air thereby helping in reducing the pollution effects.
- Don’t step out for morning walks, yoga or exercise. This time of the day is most hazardous.
- Since the need of the hour is not to step out of the house, there lies a problem – how to engage the little ones bubbling with energy. Engage them in some indoor play or activities.
While I follow the same, I urge you all to do the same. Until then stay inside, stay fit, stay healthy and breathe fresh…