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This is how the smog is affecting your body!


It’s that time of the year again when the city we live in and the air we breathe has turned into a poisonous gas chamber. The Air Quality Index (AQI), which indicates how clean the air is has gone past the dangerous mark and touched severe levels in some areas, forcing people to stay indoors. In a recent advisory issued by the Pollution Control Board, it was also advised that people avoid any exercise, including running or jogging in the first ten days of November. Not just that, stepping out without a mask has become very risky. Wondering what are the health risks you are exposing yourself to? We tell you:

What is smog?

While it’s common to see fog envelop the skies in winters, when smoke reacts with the condensed water droplets, it causes smog. The smoke itself arises from burning crops, factories, vehicles which release hazardous components like sulphur dioxide, soot.

How does the body react to it?

Smog gets settled in our lungs quite quickly, with chemicals and toxins finding their way in easily. As we breathe, we inhale smog instead of clean air, putting ourselves at a risk for diseases and complications.

Health risks

Smog is quite risky for people with breathing problems, children and older people whose lungs are weaker. Doctors advise people to avoid any kind of outdoor activity, including exercise for as long as possible because the air contains high levels of chemicals which can prove to be very lethal.

A lot of problems arise from the presence of PM 2.5 particles in the air, the tiny particles get mixed into our blood and trouble the cholesterol levels, which can further lead to heart complications. In a study conducted in America in 2012, it was found that people living in polluted areas had a 10% greater risk of undergoing a heart attack than others.

Watch out for these symptoms!

Smog and pollution can prove deadly even for the healthy ones. The most identifiable symptoms include nose and eye irritation, redness around the eyes, shortness of breath, persisting headache, congestion. In some cases, it was also found that even healthy adults were at the risk of developing asthma and other respiratory complications.

Newborns at high risk

Pollution levels this dangerous also carry a lot of risks for expecting mothers and newborn children. High concentrates of carbon monoxide found in the air can interfere with the blood supply and stop oxygen from reaching the brain, hampering development.

Can it also lead to cancer?

While there is no conclusive evidence yet, researchers and doctors have pointed out that the levels of particulate matter(PM) found in the air we breathe is getting more resilient than before, impacting our immune system. Both PM 2.5 and PM 10 were found to have traces of cancer-causing properties, putting the lives of many at risk. A study released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) also found a link between air pollution and lung cancer, terming smog as a breeding place for carcinogens.

Updated: November 9, 2018 — 6:33 am

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