Since the onset of May, Delhi and other areas of the National Capital Region have been experiencing major dust storms causing a lot of pollution in the city. Many visuals were shared across social media showing how dust storms created panic in their areas. As per various media reports, a yellowish haze engulfed Delhi-NCR as strong dust-raising winds, gusting up to 22 kilometers per hour, swept the city.
Dust Storm creates a dense cloud of airborne particles which can be inhaled by individuals exposed to the storm. This not only raises pollution levels but also increases health-related diseases. These intense weather events can have significant impacts on human health, posing a range of risks and challenges.
The fine particles have raised a number of health issues including eye irritation and conjunctivitis, leading to redness, itching, and discomfort. Further, the dust may trigger allergic reactions, particularly in individuals with sensitivities or pre-existing allergies.
Dr Vivek Nangia, Principal Director and Head, of Pulmonology, at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket explains how this sudden increase in dust pollution can impact health and what precautionary measures one should take before heading out.
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How Can Dust Storm Negatively Impact Health?
Dr Nangia explains, “Dust pollution can cause several ill effects on human health. Starting from watering in the eyes, itching in the nose, sneezing, running nose, soreness of throat, foreign body sensation in the throat to chest tightness, breathlessness, cough, acute exacerbations of underlying lung diseases like bronchial asthma, COPD, etc.”
Which Age Group Is Most Vulnerable To Dust Pollution?
As per Dr Nangia, the most vulnerable would be young children, adolescents, elders, and those out on the streets like daily wagers, workers, marketing personnel, etc. Hence, the easiest way to protect themselves from this sudden dust storm is by wearing N95 masks.
Precautionary Measures To Take To Protect Oneself From Dust Pollution
Dr Nangia shares that the best way of protecting oneself is by staying indoors, especially for those who fall into the vulnerable group. “If at all it’s a must to go out, then wear an N95 mask. Avoid any kind of strenuous physical activity. Sprinkle water in your neighbourhood to settle the dust as much as you can. Have more green plants around to control the dust,” he explained.