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Effects of Air Pollution on the Elderly
By
Akshita Gogia

 

The rapid growth and advancement seen in economic development and urbanization have affected the environment and people adversely. The increased levels of pollution and haze in the climate bring along discomfort and various health problems like respiratory issues, airborne infections, and much more. Inhaling the smog can have severe negative impacts on the health of the elderly. As age increases, our bodies are less capable of fighting off the inflammation and other damage caused by air pollution. 

 

How Does Air Pollution Impact Your Lungs?

Medical studies have found that more prolonged exposure to air pollution is linked to an increased risk of brain damage and silent stroke. The type of air you inhale directly affects your blood pressure and blood vessels. Long-term exposure to low quality of air can cause inflammation in the lungs leading to stiffening of the blood vessels, reducing their flexibility, and weakening the blood vessels, which can increase the chances of heart problems, including a stroke

 

What Are the Health Problems Associated With Air Pollution?

Air Pollution can pose serious health issues for the elderly as the immune system gets weakened with age. It's important to acknowledge that how does air pollution affects the elderly. Read on to get an insight into the health problems caused by pollution. 

 

Airborne Infections

Elders are more vulnerable to catching weather viral infections as their immune systems cannot vigorously fight off the impacts. Illnesses are caused when the microbes in the air are inhaled or contacts the mucus membrane or when an infected surface is touched. Thus, it is important to have facilities to combat low humidity, which can innate resistance against various forms of airborne bacteria. 

 

Respiratory Issues

Air pollution is linked to increased respiratory issues in the elderly. High levels of humidity can take respiratory issues to a higher level in the elderly. Elders with underlying diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, or weakened lungs are at an increased risk of falling ill because of air pollution. 

 

ENT Infections & Discomfort

As the age increases, the quality of the air you breathe in affects your respiratory system, skin, ear, nose, and throat directly. Low-humidity conditions can cause skin and eyes irritability, general discomfort in breathing, sore throat, and other health issues. 

 

What Can Be Done to Deal With Air Pollution & Reduce Its Effects?

Air pollution may reduce the cognitive ability of elders and may also lead to strokes. Exposure to poor quality of air can also increase the risk of lung cancer. Thus, it is essential to acknowledge and understand the unavoidable need to deal with air pollution to combat its ill-effects. Affective humidity control is necessary to keep the elders safe from pollution related health problems. Read below to get some helpful tips to deal with air pollution. 

 

Install an Air Purifier

The air purifiers suck in the harmful pollutants and particles present in the indoor air. Studies have found that indoor air is 5-10 times more polluted than the air outside. Getting an air purifier installed in your home would help purify the air quality to some extent. 

 

Avoid Smoking

Passive smoking is one of the common causes of indoor air pollution. If you have a smoker in your family, make sure they don't smoke inside the house. Inhaling smoke can directly impact your lungs' health, which can increase the risks of respiratory diseases. 

 

Go Green with Air Purifying Plants

Indoor plants like aloe vera, spider plant, and peace lily are some of the easily available indoor plants that are believed to improve the house's air quality. Air purifying plants can be used in the home and offices to purify the air naturally. 

 

Eat Jaggery to Detoxify

Jaggery, also known as gudd, is linked to removing the pollutants from the lungs. Consuming jaggery daily can help make your lungs healthy, thus reducing the risks of respiratory disorders. 

 

Cover Your Face with Masks

N95/99 masks are believed to filter the air, which can help you avoid inhaling the polluted air. Try to cover your face when you are outdoors to prevent breathing smog. 

 

Ventilate Your Rooms & Kitchen

Ensure your house is fully ventilated and has a chimney or an exhaust to promote ventilation across all the rooms. This will help the air to be recirculated and will thus keep the airflow intact. 

 

Elders need to keep themselves healthy and strong in order to avoid health problems. Following the ways mentioned above would help them to decrease the risks of respiratory issues caused by pollution. 

 

 

 

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