Smog can clog your lungs! Use these tips to beat the winter blues

The winter season is approaching, and that means the return of smog and air pollution. Here’s everything you MUST do to keep your lungs in healthy shape!
Woman with a mask on
Your lungs must be protected during the winter season. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Arvind Kate Published: 1 Nov 2021, 09:15 am IST
  • 122

Winter is synonymous with smog. Unfortunately not just that, but also pollution, respiratory disorders like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, cold, cough, lung fibrosis, and even cardiovascular problems. Smog and air pollution during winter can certainly give you a tough time, and impact your overall well-being. 

It will steal your peace of mind by further aggravating your health problems. When it comes to existing lung and heart patients, smog and pollution can be a matter of concern, as they can worsen their health. It is the need of the hour to stay hale and hearty during the winter season, and take care of your well-being.

Don’t take your lungs lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

In this article, we give you a lowdown on the effects of smog and pollution, and share tips on how to keep your lungs healthy during the winter season. Read on to know more about this, and try to adhere to the vital tips. After all, it is a matter of your lungs, and you cannot take it lightly.

Why is winter a nightmare for some people?

As mentioned above, smog and air pollution during the winter season can lead to various health problems. For the unversed, smog can be described as hazy air that tends to hamper breathing and invites health issues, due to different pollutants containing fine particles and ground-level ozone. It is formed as a consequence of air pollution. So, when pollutants released in the air react with sunlight and heat, smog is seen in the air.

The harmful effects of smog

Did you know that smog tends to take a toll on the human body, right from head to toe. It can give a tough time, since it can cause infections, chest pain, stroke, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, eye, nose, and throat irritation, lung fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and emphysema.

Ultimately, there will be lung damage and increased mortality and morbidity due to these ailments. Those with existing lung conditions, elderly, pregnant women, and senior citizens are at greater risk and need to take care of themselves.

The dangers of air pollution

This is a common problem that needs to be addressed on priority. Poor air quality can wreak havoc on an individual’s overall well-being. It can cause lung, and heart problems, dizziness, headaches, nausea, damage to cells in the respiratory system, decreased lung function, and a shorter span of life.

Also Read: Can air pollution increase your risk of having a stroke? A doctor clears the air

Exposure to smog can make you dizzy or cause headaches, among other health issues. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Asthma aggravates during winter

Those with existing lung problems like asthma that cause the inflammation of the airways may suffer during the winter season. Those with asthma tend to experience worsened symptoms during winter, or are more likely to have an asthma attack, because they spend more time indoors. They can get a cold or the flu, since the air outside is cold and dry.

Even when staying indoors, the windows are closed so the dust mites, mold, pet dander, and other allergens can cause asthma to flare up, and one may get an asthma attack. Thus, you may be gasping for breath.

How to overcome respiratory problems during winter
  • Get the flu and pneumonia vaccine to keep your lungs healthy and disease-free during winter.
  • Limit outdoor exercises, if you have asthma, COPD, or bronchitis or in case, there is smog and air pollution. You can exercise at home, and do activities like walking, aerobics, zumba, weight training, ladder exercises, and yoga.  Indoor swimming can also do the trick here. Try to incorporate some breathing exercises in order to enhance lung capacity. You can take the help of an expert who will help you with correct breathing exercises.
  • Wear a mask or cover your face when you step out. Moreover, try to avoid venturing out during smog or when there is too much air pollution.
  • Keep your home clean of dust, molds, and allergens. Wash the bedding, carpets, rugs and disinfect the furniture. Vacuum clean the home on a regular basis.
  • Use an air purifier at home to breathe freely. Or you can even opt for an air humidifier. Again, consult the expert before opting for them.
Adequate water intake can help to keep your airways clean and clear. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Keep your hands clean and free of germs, wash them from time to time. Avoid touching the mouth, nose, or eyes with dirty hands.
  • Do not smoke and avoid crowded places. 
  • Asthma patients should keep the pump handy.
  • Have good ventilation at home, don’t be around sick people, and go for regular check-ups in case of any health issues.
  • Stay hydrated and drink a lot of water to keep the airways clean, take steam as suggested by the doctor, and do not try any home remedies as that can be dangerous for you, and further aggravate the problem.
  • Eat lung-friendly foods like apples, walnuts, broccoli, beans, berries, papaya, pineapple, kiwi, cabbage, carrots, turmeric, green leafy vegetables,  and ginger that can improve immunity and are beneficial for the lungs. Avoid processed, junk, fried, oily and canned food that is loaded with preservatives, additives, and artificial flavors, and may cause throat irritation.

  • 122
About the Author

Dr Arvind Kate, Pulmonologist at Zen Multispecialty Hospital, Chembur ...Read More

Next Story