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Tips to Protect Yourself from Air Pollution If You Are a Daily Commuter

Aug 30, 2017

With the technological boom, air pollution levels have also increased rapidly. The air outside has become one of the most contaminated resources and inhaling it makes us prone to some life threatening illnesses. It would be best if one could install a good air purifier and stay indoors which, however, isn’t possible for the most of us. If you are a daily commuter, you need to face the harsh conditions every day. While it’s natural that you need to inhale the polluted air outside, we present you with certain tips to avoid taking in excessive amounts of polluted air and keep yourself safe while commuting.

1) Diesel exhaust from automobiles

The diesel vehicles that you get to see every now and then pour out huge amounts of exhaust gases. These black and smelly exhaust gases from diesel automobiles contain around 40 highly toxic chemical contaminants, which cause deadly effects on the human body ranging from asthma to cancer and premature death. If you are a daily commuter, you may as well be forced to inhale such toxic gases! While natural gas run vehicles are slowly taking over their diesel counterparts, there are still a large number of diesel vehicles present that pollute the air to unhealthy levels.

Tips to protect yourself: Always maintain a safe distance from diesel vehicles flushing out their toxic exhaust from the tailpipes. If you have a child who has to travel to school in diesel buses every day, you could always discuss with their officials' different ways to reduce idling while the buses load and unload.

2) Suspended particulate matter in the air

Suspended particulate matter, or SPM as it is more commonly known, may be considered as a mixture of some microscopic solids and liquids that float in the air. These suspended particles are present everywhere from soot to smoke to haze. However, they are too tiny to be detected by the naked eye, and it is this microscopic nature that makes them so deadly to our health. Even if inhaled in small quantities, these particles are tiny enough to enter the lungs and/or the bloodstream. The result is a plethora of respiratory and cardiovascular problems, which demand frequent visits to the emergency room. They can even cause premature death in some cases. The primary sources of these particles are the burning of coal, gasoline, wood or oils.

 Tips to protect yourself: The best tip here would be to keep a close tab on the air quality reports in your locality. If the SPM count seems to cross the permissible limit on any given day, it would be the best to avoid prolonged exposure to outside air. You could also try to use a mask to protect yourself inhaling all the deadly particles suspended in the air.

3) Air pollutant benzene

Benzene is one the most toxic pollutants in the outside air and is one of the known human carcinogens which are responsible for causing numerous cases of childhood leukaemia and various disorders of the blood among other illnesses. Benzene is so toxic that even a short-term exposure to it can lead to one to feel drowsy, dizzy and can cause a headache and respiratory tract irritation among other health problems. The most important point to note here is that benzene is found almost everywhere from exhaust gases to cigarette smoke to gas facilities.

Tips to protect yourself: You could very well avoid being present close to a significant source of benzene, such as a gas pump. Try a different route while commuting to avoid benzene prone areas, especially if you are pregnant.

4) Smog or ground-level ozone

When the pollution exceeds certain levels it can cause excess ozone to form at the very ground level, and its effect is quite harmful. Ground level ozone, or smog, can irritate your lungs or even permanently damage them. Smog or ground level ozone is formed when the various nitrogen oxides and other air pollutants from vehicular and industrial exhausts react with sunlight. Smog was only confined to the industrial urban areas at first which has now spread its roots to the rural areas as well.

Tips to protect yourself: Always check out the smog level before venturing out. Keep a tab on the ground level ozone report from your air quality index. The best defence from smog is to stay indoors for as long as possible and limiting your exposure to the outside air, to early mornings or late evenings.

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