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December 9, 2019

Dusty, toxic air — serious health threat to population

National

December 9, 2019

RAWALPINDI: Dusty and toxic air having high level of pollutants is posing serious health threats to population in the region after the sharp fall in mercury while various seasonal ailments, especially colds, flu, throat infection and other respiratory tract infections have already taken shape of epidemic.

According to experts, dry cold and polluted air are main factors behind rise in incidences of RTIs as the winter season has set in yet there has not been any rain spell due to which the atmosphere is filled with toxic dust causing a number of ailments among residents.

It is time for individuals to take extra care to avoid damages that the dust and chemicals in the air can cause. Experts say that after the setting in of winter, immediate rain and heavy wind is needed to cleanse the air quality.

In the absence of rain, the air is engulfed by dusty clouds, toxic metals and vapours containing a number of harmful chemicals while vehicles also serve as big source of air pollution. Experts say that to minimise bad effects of toxic air, people must take precautionary measures.

Many health experts say that the concerned government authorities have not been doing anything significant to control the increasing level of pollution in the air. At least, the concerned authorities and other stakeholders should launch awareness campaigns to educate public on how to avoid bad effects of polluted air.

The infections including colds, sore throat, cough and flu that are hitting population badly in the region are highly contagious. These are passed by tiny droplets produced during sneezing, coughing of infected persons and touching things with hands and tissues that others touch.

Health experts say that to minimise bad effects of dusty and toxic air, people particularly those staying outside for longer periods of time should wear quality air filter masks that can filter out the harmful particles. One should not stay out of home or office unnecessarily and should cut down late nights and vigorous exercise for a few days and should stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke.

According to experts, having plenty of fluids, at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day and fruit juices preferably lemonade can minimize the harmful effects of toxic dust in the air as fluids help loosen mucus. Drink hot tea or water with lemon and honey. Chicken soup can also help loosen the mucus. Gargle with warm saline water a few times a day and use cough lozenges or cough syrup if needed to quite a dry cough.

Experts also say that it may be beneficial for one to use a humidifier for keeping extra moisture in the room while well balanced diet including fish at least twice a week and seasonal fruits can help minimizing the bad effects of dry weather.

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