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Addressing Delhi’s Air Pollution: Preventive Healthcare Solutions

pollution preventive health remedies

It’s a stark reality that our country ranks poorly in terms of a clean and safe environment. Presently, the air we breathe is saturated with pollutants and harmful particles, rendering open-air breathing nearly impossible. The predicament is particularly severe for residents of the Delhi NCR region, where escalated pollution levels have exacerbated the challenges. In the face of this heightened air pollution in Delhi, implementing preventive healthcare measures becomes imperative. By prioritizing preventive healthcare practices, individuals can take proactive steps to mitigate the adverse effects of the polluted air on their well-being. As the need for preventive healthcare interventions becomes more evident, collective efforts are essential to address and ameliorate the existing environmental concerns, even the Delhi government has called for shutting down the schools in the region.

Delhi grapples with polluted air containing soot, dust, ozone, and sulfur oxides, posing a severe threat globally. In India, pollution stands as a significant contributor to disability and death, with over 1.8 million annual fatalities attributed to acute ailments like asthma and chronic bronchial inflammation. It is crucial for everyone to proactively adopt preventive healthcare measures to eradicate this environmental hazard. Both governmental and individual responsibilities are paramount, necessitating policy changes for a healthier environment. Through collective preventive healthcare efforts, we can transform our surroundings into a better place to live.

Does the pollution only affect the environment and not me?

Arguably a question that answers itself, pollution transcends being merely an environmental issue, as underscored by experts. It is deemed a critical health concern, significantly impacting both animals and humans, acting as a primary catalyst for major diseases. Beyond respiratory issues, pollution is implicated in various skin and hair problems. Dr. Arvind Kumar from Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi warns that the lungs of non-smokers in the city now resemble those of regular smokers. It’s inaccurate to dismiss pollution solely as an environmental threat; it profoundly affects human health. Whether exclusively environmental or not, our concern should remain high, as an unsafe living environment jeopardizes our own safety. Therefore, prioritizing preventive healthcare measures is imperative to counteract the adverse effects of pollution on our well-being. 

What are the harmful effects of pollution on my skin? 

Air pollution is making skin dull and dry

If you are living in Delhi NCR then it is hard to escape environmental aggressors such as traffic fumes, cigarette smoke, and UV light. A number of studies have proved that air pollution is harmful to humans and other creatures, and is the main cause of various diseases including respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, death of animals and plants, and economic losses. Apart from that, it also affects your skin in numerous ways. It makes the surface of your skin feel dirty, some chemicals attached to pollution particles can penetrate through the skin’s layers and cause oxidative stress which can weaken the skin’s barrier and trigger inflammation. If your exposure to these particles is high and your skin isn’t protected this can result in skin pigmentation problems, uneven skin tone, dullness, as well as the formation of wrinkles – all signs of premature skin aging.

People who have sensitive skin and who suffer from inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution. Therefore it becomes necessary to take extra care of our skin every day. (Read- How Papaya masks can help you take care of your skin?

Home remedies to keep your skin safe from pollution

Your skin is one of the most sensitive parts of your body and it demands a lot of attention and concern. And as pollution is increasing day by day, the risk of skin damage is also increasing. Skin is the first part that may be contaminated by a pollutant and this can cause inflammation, irritation, eruptions, premature aging, loss of elasticity, firmness, and glow. Hence, you should take the necessary preventive healthcare measures to protect the delicate organ from the air pollution you encounter every day.

  • To protect the delicacy of your skin, you should properly clean your face twice a day. Baking soda is an excellent deep pore cleanser that gently exfoliates your skin. Take two teaspoons of baking soda and mix it with one teaspoon of water to make a paste. Gently massage this mixture onto your face. Leave it to dry for about five minutes and rinse clean.
  • Air pollution can deteriorate the skin’s protective outer layer causing dryness, redness, and irritation. Use good sunscreen generously before going outdoors. You can prepare your own natural sunscreen at home. There are many tutorials on the internet that can guide you in making sunscreen at home. 
  • Use a natural moisturizer every day to keep your skin glowing. Coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, sesame oil, baby oil, or jojoba oil are great moisturizers. Wash your body then apply any of these oils all over your body and massage for five minutes so that the oil gets properly absorbed by the skin. You can repeat the process again on your face before going to bed at night. 
  • To eradicate the rough and dry patches of dead skin caused by air pollution, you need to give your skin a good scrubbing thrice a week. Mix half-cup of white or brown sugar with enough olive oil to make a paste. Apply it to your face and let it sit for 10 minutes and rinse it with warm water. You can also apply lemon juice to remove dead skin cells.
  • You should drink at least eight glasses of water daily to flush out the toxins from your body. You should take plenty of liquids to keep your body dehydrated every day.  Also, you can drink coconut water and lemon water to keep your skin naturally moisturized. 
  • A diet rich in antioxidants can help you look and feel better every day. Eat plenty of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, spinach, apricots, pumpkin, grapes, berries, eggplant, onion, garlic, parsley, nuts, healthy seeds like sunflower seeds, avocado, sweet potato, red and yellow bell pepper, etc. to keep your body fit and healthy. 
  • Sleeping well is the key to beautiful skin and you should never compromise your sleep. During sleep, your blood flow increases and the organ rebuilds its collagen to repair any kind of damage, thus it is necessary to sleep properly. (Read- Tips for getting better sleep)

How can air pollution in Delhi affect my hair? 

Damaged hair due to exposure to polluted hair

Today, a large part of the population is complaining of itching, dandruff, oily scalp, and pain in the hair roots. This is identified as Sensitive Scalp Syndrome which results from exposure to increasing levels of air pollution which settle on the scalp and hair. The pollutants migrate into the dermis, through the transepidermal and the hair follicle conduit, leading to oxidative stress and hair loss. Hair loss due to pollution can mimic or coexist with androgenic alopecia. The harmful elements of air pollution such as nickel, lead, arsenic, dust, smoke, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), ammonia, and sulfur dioxide nitrogen affect the hair strands along their length causing the ends to split. This split goes up through the length and eventually breaks the hair off the scalp. (Read- Managing hair with changes in season).

How does pollution affect my overall health? 

All forms of pollution can affect our health in many ways. Today the air we breathe in is not even worth breathing, the water we drink is not worth drinking and the soil is contaminated, there is noise pollution everywhere, thus making the surrounding a very bad place to live in. We often talk about achieving holistic well-being; but what about a holistic ecosystem to live in?

This pollution has an effect on every living creature on the earth and is the main cause of diseases and other health risks. Air pollution in Delhi has not only increased the risk of acute (e.g. pneumonia) and chronic (e.g. lung cancer) respiratory disease as well as cardiovascular disease, for its citizens, but inhabitants across the globe.

Drinking contaminated water can cause hepatitis, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, etc. According to some research, Water-related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths per year, thus contributing to the loss of human and animal lives. Similarly, soil pollution can cause cancer, including leukemia, nervous system damage, neuromuscular blockage, and depression of the central nervous system, kidney and liver damage. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself from coming into contact with pollution.

Can home remedies actually help beat the pollution? 

Healthy natural juices to detoxify your body

Understanding the perilous impact of pollution on our bodies emphasizes the need for heightened attention to our health, hair, and skin. Prioritizing preventive healthcare is essential, and adopting simple remedies can fortify our defenses against the harms inflicted by pollution. By incorporating these straightforward practices into our routine, we not only take care of our bodies but also proactively engage in preventive healthcare, creating a robust shield against the detrimental effects of pollution.

  1. To protect your skin you must wash the skin and hair with neem leaves boiled in the water. It will clear the pollutants stuck to the skin and mucosal membrane. 
  2. Eat three to four leaves at least twice a week. It helps to purify the blood and lymphatic tissue.
  3. You should eat jaggery, every day to eliminate toxins and dust particles from your systems. It is packed with nutrients that help remove harmful elements from the bloodstream, lungs, respiratory tract, as well as food pipe. 
  4. Try cooking with olive oil which has been shown to boost the immune system against the attack of external microorganisms. 
  5. Include ginger in your diet. It can help in reducing airway inflammation and inhibit airway contraction.
  6. Garlic and onions are also beneficial as they help us to overcome infections. Packed with antioxidants, onions, and garlic are also used in traditional medicine for their health benefits, including some related to the prevention and treatment of asthma.
  7. Include citrus fruits like lemon, gooseberries, oranges, etc in your diet. The vitamin C content in citrus fruits helps boost your immunity and lessen the effects of air pollution.
  8. Drink basil (tulsi) juice daily to steer clear of pollutants from your respiratory tract.
  9. Try having a glass of milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder every day.

Why don’t you book a consultation with our wellness centers in Delhi, and Gurgaon, to find ways to tackle the air pollution in Delhi better? Do ask them about Nasyam as a treatment.

Does Ayurveda really help in protecting us from pollution? 

Ayurveda is a natural healer

Ayurveda, an ancient Indian form of medicine, stands out for its holistic approach, focusing on health and wellness by harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit. Beyond its well-known benefits in treating various diseases, Ayurveda also proves effective in combatting the detrimental effects of pollution. The recent Diwali festivities exacerbated the existing pollution in Delhi and neighboring cities, escalating the air quality hazards. Yet, proactive measures rooted in Ayurvedic principles offer a way to minimize the adverse impacts of this harmful pollution on your health. Today, we delve into Ayurvedic hacks that not only address immediate concerns but also align with principles of preventive healthcare, creating a shield against the baleful environmental conditions. By incorporating these practices into your routine, you not only safeguard your well-being but also engage in proactive preventive healthcare, fortifying your defense against the ill effects of pollution.

  1. According to Ayurvedic experts, pollution causes an imbalance in the Tridoshas (three fundamental energies that govern the function of our bodies on the physical and emotional levels), thus making the immune system weak. You can boost your immunity by having one tablespoon of Triphala with one teaspoon of honey at night. 
  2. Performing breathing exercises such as Pranayama and Kapal Bhati regularly helps in cleansing the airway and combatting the harmful effects of pollution.
  3. The fruit pomegranate has a lot of health advantages and is also a brilliant cardio-protective fruit. Drinking pomegranate juice daily can purify the blood and help you protect the heart and arteries. 
  4. Abhyanga or oil application massage aids in improving circulation and getting rid of toxins that have entered the blood by various means like inhalation or skin. Regular Abhyanga with sesame oil or other Ayurvedic oils infused with herbs increase the body’s immunity and keep you energized.
  5. As discussed earlier, Tulsi (basil) is a very beneficial plant and should be planted in every house to absorb pollution.  According to Dr. Nitin Rajan Kochar (MD) (Ayurveda), KEM Hospital, Mumbai, drinking  10-15 ml of tulsi juice daily can help clear pollutants from the respiratory tract. 
  6. The Neem plant has numerous medicinal properties and it is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial ways to fight pollution. Washing your skin and hair with Neem water helps in flushing out the pollutants stuck to the skin and mucous membranes.
  7. What we eat and drink has a direct impact on our bodies and therefore it is necessary to always consume freshly cooked warm food. Include ginger and carom seeds in your diet. Tulsi, Pippali, Triphala, and more should be consumed on a regular basis to strengthen our respiratory and immune systems so that the effect of pollutants can be minimized.
  8. The term Swedana means to sweat or perspire. In Ayurveda, the procedure to induce sweating is called Swedana karma. Sarvanga Swedana using the Dashmool herb helps to liquefy and melt the toxins and expels them in an efficient manner. 
  9. Facial steam should be done by adding eucalyptus oil, basil oil, tea tree oil, and carom seeds to cleanse and strengthen the nasal barrier for pollutants.
  10.  And yes, how can someone forget the health benefits of the super herb Pippali or long pepper. This herb purifies the lungs and enables easy breathing. A small quantity of this powder is very powerful and you can consume it with honey or warm water for a maximum of 7 days, to keep yourself healthy. 

Today, air pollution in Delhi has become an inevitable part of the environment and our life. You can just take preventive steps to protect your skin from its harmful effects. A deep focus on your health can prevent you from getting affected by this health hazard, and strengthen yourself and your immunity, till the time we find a sustainable solution.

  1. How do you get rid of skin pollution?

    Cleanse, double cleanse or even triple cleanse, if need be, especially at night, to remove residue of pollution from the skin. You can also take a slice of raw green papaya and rub it on your skin for 20 seconds. The natural enzymes in papaya help remove the blackness from your face.

  2. Is milk good for the skin?

    Milk contains antioxidants: The antioxidant content of milk and milk products are known to fight against oxidation damage in your body and help in the skin health restoration process, making our skin look healthier and glowing.

  3. Is there a link between air pollution and mental health?

    Exposure to traffic-related air pollution is associated with increased mental health service use among people recently diagnosed with psychotic and mood disorders such as schizophrenia and depression, 

  4. How does pollution damage your hair?

    Pollution exposure can cause chemical damage to the hair. It leads to degrading hair protein, affects the hydrophilic hair surface niche, and damages the hair cuticles.

  5. Does air pollution affect everyone equally?

    Air pollution affects everyone equally. Air pollution only occurs as a result of human activity.

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