Air pollution vs kids lungs: Tips for parents to preserve their child’s lungs | Health

Post Diwali, the air pollution levels in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and in other North Indian states have worsened, resulting in a thick layer of smog returning to the national capital with the overall air quality index (AQI) continuing to remain in the ‘very poor’ category and standing at 301 at 10 am after residents flouted the ban on firecrackers on Diwali night. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’ and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Air pollution vs kids lungs: Tips for parents to preserve their child’s lungs from smog (HT_PRINT/For Representation)

Some areas in Delhi recorded even worse air quality such as an AQI of 315 in Shadipur, 311 in Ayanagar, 308 in Lodhi Road, 355 in Pusa and 333 in Jahangirpuri. While in Haryana’s Faridabad, the AQI was recorded at 304 in New Industrial Town, 341 in Sector 16-A and 275 in Ballabhgarh, in Gurugram, the AQI was 351 in Sector 51 and 264 in Vikas Sadan.

Dr Nihar Parekh, Pediatrician and Founder Of Cheers Clinic Care, shared, “The alarming rise in the air pollution quotient of India is not only concerning for environmental wellbeing but also for kids. In this growing phase in them, where the anatomical development of the body is just shaping, such hindrance can lead to a crisis in the lung growth. Our kids are growing in a time where with every breath, they inhale toxins and other particulate matter that can tremendously affect the natural growth of their body organs and most importantly their lungs. This indicates a surge in respiratory issues in children, in the near future. Before the air pollution hazard grows into an epidemic, we should combat this silent menace that can possibly jeopardize children’s breathing capacity.”

While addressing and resolving the Air Quality Index (AQI) can be left to environment experts, the parent community can take some steps to preserve their kids’ lungs from this hazard. He suggested, “Make your kids habitual to wear a mask when travelling outdoors, especially in areas highly prone to air pollution due to vehicles or industries. Encourage children to wash their hands frequently, especially after outdoor play, to reduce the risk of ingesting pollutants. On days when air quality is poor, reduce outdoor playtime, especially during peak pollution hours. Encourage indoor activities instead. A diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins can help protect your child’s lungs. Encourage them to eat fruits and vegetables.”

He concluded, “Additional attention should be given to children with default respiratory issues such as Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis. Parents of these kids must stay informed about the air quality in their area referring to real-time updates on apps or news. Close windows and doors when outdoor air quality is low to prevent pollutants from entering your home. Invest in high-quality air purifiers for your home, especially in your child’s bedroom. Ensure that they are effective at filtering out pollutants and allergens. Schedule regular check-ups with your child’s pediatrician to monitor their lung health and discuss any concerns.”

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