Air pollution and climate change were recognized as the top environmental global threats to human health in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Air impurities enter the respiratory system via inhalation, causing various health effects in all age groups. The health of susceptible and sensitive individuals (pregnant women, kids, elderly and people with severe disorders) can be impacted even on low air pollution days.

Short-term exposure to air pollutants is closely related to cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, with high rates of hospitalization. Long-term exposure to these also leads to severe conditions like lung cancer, heart disease and central nervous system dysfunctions.

Nasal hygiene matters

Your nose is a passage to various air impurities; hence it is important to take care of your nose. Air impurities e.g. allergens, pollutants, bacteria or viruses etc. may enter the nose and get trapped, leading to complications.

Take care of your overall health:

–        Manage diet – Antioxidants, fibre, protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may help you beat the effects of air pollutants.

–        Regular Nasal Washing -Saline sprays wash out the impurities and debris trapped in the nasal passage and helps to prevent allergy symptoms and sinus infections. It also supports natural nose functions.

Benefits of nasal saline wash

       It is a good habit to use a saline wash every day to clean the trapped debris and impurities.

       It also helps to moisturize your dry nose, especially in winter.

       If you are taking any steroids or medications to treat your nasal allergies, it is suggested to rinse your nose with saline before using them. It will clear out debris/mucus and help medications work better.

Take care of your nose and practice nasal hygiene regularly to breathe cleaner.

Minimise the exposure to air pollutants:

–        Shift from motorized to active travel e.g. walking and cycling

–        Track the air quality index in your area

–        Exercise regularly but moderate outdoor activity when air pollution levels are high

–        Ventilate your kitchen or cooking room

(Expert inputs by Dr Arun Wadhwa, Senior Consultant Pediatrician)