How can you protect your child from smog? What can you do to protect your child’s health in such bad weather conditions, with Delhi-NCR’s pollution?
We are all aware of the deteriorating air pollution situation in Delhi. Over the last few days, the pollution has become so severe that the residents are living in a thick haze.
When you breathe in polluted air, particles and pollutants penetrate and inflame the linings of your bronchial tubes and lungs. This leads to respiratory illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing.
Children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of air pollution because their defense mechanisms are still evolving and because they inhale a higher volume of air per body weight than adults. Children who already have asthma are at a higher risk. Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 worldwide. With the increase of pollution in Delhi, more and more children are being affected; they are falling ill, catching severe cold and cough, and having breathing issues that are leading to many other problems.
Here are a few tips on how to protect your child from the air pollution:
Monitor Air Quality
You can choose from several apps that give you an air quality forecast. When an unhealthy air quality level has been reached, you will be notified via phone or email. If you can’t get one of these, monitor the local news and weather channels who will update you on the current weather situation.
Close windows and turn on AC/Air purifier
As the pollution levels are extremely high right now, you need to limit the air that comes into your house. If the windows are open, it doesn’t make a difference to be inside or outside. Make sure your windows and doors are closed and turn on your AC or air purifier.
Limit outside play and physical exertion
Timing is everything when the pollution stats are so high. Ozone often peaks in the mid afternoon/early evening so make sure you don’t let your child go out and play then. You can let your child play indoors with amazing activity based learning kits such as Xplorabox. These activity boxes help in the child’s learning via play while they remain safe from the outdoor pollution.
Buy a good face mask
If your child has to go outside, buy a good face mask to protect them from the hazardous pollution. Statistics from some of the highest polluted cities in the world show that people who wear face masks showed less effects of air pollution on their heart rhythms and blood pressure compared to those with no masks. You can buy good masks online or pick some up from your local pharmacy.
It has been proven that breathing exercises can help strengthen your lungs, cleanse your nasal passage and help you combat pollutants as well as a number of other benefits.
Activities to Boost Your Child’s Developmental SkillsPlease select the age group of your child
Here are some fun breathing techniques you can introduce to your child at home:
- Flower Breath – Get your child to imagine they are smelling a flower. Breath deeply through the nose and out through the mouth.
- Hissing Breath – Ask your child to inhale deeply through their nose and exhale through their mouth making a hissing sound. They can pretend to be snakes.
- Bear Breath – Get your child to inhale through their nose and hold the breath for a few seconds before exhaling. This can be repeated 3-4 times.
- Rabbit Breath – Get your child to take 3 quick sniffs, inhaling through their nose and then give a long exhale through the mouth. They can pretend to be little bunnies.
- Balloon Breath – Get your child to imagine they are a balloon. You are going to pretend to fill up the balloon with your breath. Ask your child to fill their lungs, ribs, chest and stomachs with as much air as possible to “fill up the balloon”.
Eat the right foods
Research shows that foods rich in Vitamin E and C can help to counteract the effects of air pollution on the lungs. They help to clean your system, particularly your airways, as these foods are rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory qualities.
Foods that are a good source of Vitamin E and C:
- Raw seeds – sunflower/pumpkin/sesame
- Olive Oil
As well as these great foods, you can incorporate as many fruits and veggies into your child’s diet as possible. By encouraging this, your child’s intake of food rich in vitamins and antioxidants will increase.
Bring plants into the house
Plants are well known to absorb gases through pores on the surface of their leaves such as carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Scientists studying the air-purification capacities of indoor plants have found that plants can absorb many other gases in addition to carbon dioxide.
It is a good idea to get some houseplants to literally “clean the air”. You can find these plants in most garden nurseries in and around Delhi:
- Aloe Vera
- Golden Pothos
- Peace Lily
- Weeping Fig
- English Ivy
- Warneck Dracaena
- Chinese Evergreen
- Bamboo Palm
- Green Spider Plant
- Snake Plant
- Areca Palm
All of the tips mentioned are things that you can do NOW to protect your child from air pollution. We must also look at the long run and how we can contribute to improving the air that our children breathe.
Researched and compiled by Xplorabox staff