New Delhi | Niharika Sanjeeiv: After Diwali, air quality in metropolitan cities deteriorated to the 'severe category. In Delhi, the air quality index (AQI) stood at 467, as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), while in Noida and Ghaziabad, the AQI is also over 400.

As the air is deteriorating, we at Jagran English exclusively spoke to Dr Swadeep Srivastava, Founder & CEO, HEAL Health and India Virtual Hospital, to shed more light on the risk factors of air pollution.

Here is an excerpt from the interview

Q. What are the effects of air pollution on the lungs?

Air pollution affects the lungs in a variety of ways. However, severity depends on the type of mix of pollutants in the air that enters the lungs. Moreover, having exposed to high pollution may bring the rapid onset of symptoms. And long-term exposure to air pollution can contribute to the development of some lung conditions such as lung cancer, asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Q. How fatal it is for people who have a respiratory disease?

Air pollution acts as adding fuel to the fire for people having respiratory diseases. It is detrimental to health in general and for people suffering from respiratory diseases in particular. People suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma need to reduce the harmful effects of air pollution by getting aware of the air quality and taking extra measures such as reducing the time outdoor and wearing masks when necessary. To reduce air pollutants indoors, people should use clean fuels and improve the stoves to burn fuel more efficiently, venting emissions outside.

Q. How people can keep themselves protected in the next few days?

Considering the worsening quality of air during the Diwali festival, people need to keep themselves indoors. Despite a ban on bursting firecrackers, revellers have enjoyed the Diwali bash contributing to the increase in air pollution. Breathing in air pollutants can irritate your airways, and may cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthma and chest pain. To keep yourself protected, you need to do the following:

• Avoid places where people are bursting firecrackers because harmful chemicals get emitted from them.
• Wear a face mask while stepping out. It is better to use an anti-pollution face mask.
• Try to stay indoors with the air condition on, if possible, to avoid feeling too suffocated.
• Invest in an air purifier as it can be useful under the present circumstances, given the air quality in several large Indian cities.
• People with pre-existing respiratory conditions must keep their emergency medicines, nebulizers and other medical kits handy at all times.
• Eat nutritious food consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables as it may improve your overall health.
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and prevent hyperacidity.

Posted By: Niharika Sanjeeiv