How to Protect Ourselves Against Air Pollution in Winter?
In winter season, as the "haze days" increasing gradually, the air pollution problem in most China's cities caught people's attention again. People living in Shanghai should be aware of the fact that the air quality of Shanghai in winter season is not much better than that of Beijing, sometimes even worse.
What is haze?
Haze is an airborne mix of air pollution, dust, and smoke that impairs visibility. This mixture can include small particulates like soot, along with gases vented from industrial manufacturing facilities.
Haze also poses a risk to human health, as it may contain pollutants that enter the airways and cause irritation.
As a specific kind of haze, PM2.5 particles are particularly hazardous to our health.
They are air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, small enough to invade even the smallest airways.
These particles generally come from activities that burn fossil fuels, such as traffic, smelting, and metal processing.
PM2.5 particles can cause inflammatory responses both in the body's respiratory tract and in the blood vessels. In the case of the circulatory system, this can eventually lead to thickening of the artery wall and its attendant problems.
Which groups of people are more sensitive to haze?
In general, children, elderly, and people with chronic lung disease, heart disease are more sensitive to the health effects of haze.
Individuals are advised to consult their doctor should they develop breathing difficulties. In addition, it is advised that pregnant women reduce exposure to haze for the health of their unborn baby.
Protect yourself against PM2.5
·Develop the habit of checking AQI daily
Before going out or engaging in outdoor activities, get into the habit of checking the air quality index in your area. This way, you can determine when you should take precautions to safeguard your health.
·Limit physical activity when the air is polluted
When you are physically active, you breathe deeper and faster, putting yourself in greater contact with air pollutants. Therefore, you could limit physical activity and reduce its intensity when you are in a polluted area.
·Wear PM2.5 protection mask when necessary
A healthy person who has to be outdoors for several hours when the forecasted air quality is in the hazardous range (PSI >300) may reduce exposure by wearing a PM2.5 protection mask.
·Drink plenty of water
In most cases, it is still safe to carry on with outdoor activities. However, drinking plenty of water may help symptoms such as a dry or itchy throat.
·Keep medications with you
If you have heart or respiratory problems, bring your medication with you when you go outdoors. Follow your doctor’s instructions properly to keep your symptoms under control.
How to improve indoor air quality
To ensure indoor air quality, we need to take following measures:
1. Consider purchasing an air cleaner if you live in an area with high levels of particle pollution.
2. Opt for healthy and environmentally friendly household products and materials
3. Do not smoke indoors
4. Always turn on the kitchen ventilator when cooking