The severe air pollution in North India calls for greater awareness of health risks caused by breathing dirty air. The pollution is so much worse that in many states and cities in North India, skylines are almost invisible. Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe. The longer the duration and the higher the level of exposure to bad quality air, the greater is the risk of developing many health issues, reports The Statesman.These ailments include:
Throat infection: People who are exposed to polluted air are more vulnerable to catch a cold, cough and other throat infections. Air pollution can make their throat feel rough and scratchy. It can cause chronic nasal congestion too.
Respiratory problems and asthma: Air pollution can trigger respiratory disease and asthma attacks in people – particularly children and the elderly. People who already suffer from asthma have more severe and frequent asthma attacks. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s and an elderly person’s life in danger.
Skin problem: Air pollution can cause skin irritation, allergy, sensitivity, discolouration, dryness, dullness, roughness, acne, premature aging and at its worst skin cancer.
Threat to your tresses: Pollutants in the air pose a real threat to scalp and hair health. It deteriorates the healthy levels of proteins responsible for strong, thick, long and shiny hair. Dust and other grime, smoke, and gaseous pollutants can settle on both the scalp and hair causing irritation and damage. It can cause severe hair loss.
Eye irritation: Being a delicate organ, eyes are more susceptible to air pollution than other body parts. Eyes of contact lens wearers can be adversely affected by air pollution.Damages immune system: The toxic chemicals released into the air due to pollution may damage the immune system, endocrine, and reproductive system. Also, the toxins in the air settle into plants and water resources. When animals eat these contaminated plants and drink contaminated water, the poison travels up the food chain and then to us.
Cardiovascular disease: People who are exposed to air pollution increase their risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It can have an immediate adverse effect on their blood and blood vessels, increasing the risk of having a heart attack. Breathing in polluted air interferes with the normal functioning of the heart, blood and vascular system. It can damage the lining of blood vessels and cause blood platelets to become stickier. These changes can cause heart attacks.
Lung cancer: Breathing polluted air increases the risk of developing lung cancer. In polluted air, there are many of the cancer-causing substances and poisons. Polluted air exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.
Health problems in children and elderly people: Children and elderly people who breathe in polluted air get sick more often. They are more prone to ear infection, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Infants who are exposed to air pollution after birth are at a greater risk for SIDS.
There is an urgent need to make notable improvements by making and implementing effective policies and strategies at a sufficient scale that will help clear the air and save the lives of people.
Working towards a greener and cleaner goals is the need of the hour!