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The Smog: 10 Tips To Stay Safe And Healthy

Edited by: Vasudha Malani (UG 2019)

Winter is almost upon us. For Ashokans, the onset of winter brings with it a major problem一the dreaded smog. This week, we woke up to a hazy view outside our windows, a yellow sky and air that made our throats scratchy. Before the smog hits, here is a list of things you can do to prepare for it and stay safe during this dreadful time:

 

Photo by Margarita Terekhova on Unsplash

 

1. Keep plants in your room

Since plants are natural air purifiers, you can get some for your room from the nursery in front of the sports block. Ask for the following plants that are the best in the business: the Aloe Vera plant, the Money plant, the Arrowhead/Syngonium plant and the Snake plant. These plants are not very demanding and can be easily kept indoors. Plants are also mood enhancers and will ensure that your room has good vibes only.

 

2. Keep yourself hydrated

This is especially important. Make sure you have enough fluids throughout the day to help your body battle the bad weather better.

Photo by Arran Smith on Unsplash

 

3. Get good quality masks

As much as we would like to, we cannot avoid going out during the smog. Therefore, it is important for you to invest in a good quality mask especially if you are more at risk of contracting infections or have a history of breathing problems. When looking for masks, look at their ratings which indicate how much pollutant they filter. An N95 mask can filter 95% of PM2.5 while N99 and N100 would filter 99% and 99.7% particulate matter respectively. A ‘P’ rated mask is more heavy duty and can also filter out oil-based pollutants.

 

4. Invest in an air purifier, if you can

You cannot go wrong with this. Trust me and my infinite wisdom as a fourth year. You might keep thinking that it’s not worth it but trust me it’ll be a really good investment in the long run. Split the cost with your roommate and enjoy fresh air year-long for the entire duration of your program here. There are some really good, affordable options available in the market by Philips and Honeywell at Amazon and by Xiaomi at Mi India.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

 

5. Eat well and on time

This is really important for you to aid your body which is fighting the terrible weather outside. Nourish your body with enough carbohydrates, proteins, fibres and fats. Fruits rich in Vitamin C such as lemons, grapes, papaya and melons can also be really good additions to your diet as they help fight air-borne toxins. Eat vegetables such as peas, cauliflower, cabbage, okra, and broccoli.

Photo by Margarita Terekhova on Unsplash

 

6. Limit outdoor excursions

Although these cannot be eliminated entirely, limit excursions as much as possible to avoid long periods of exposure to the smog which can have a debilitating effect on your health. Even if you need to exercise, do it indoors. If you need to go to the infirmary, make sure you call for an ambulance. Don’t risk walking all the way to the sports block in such weather.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

 

7. Be wary of lighting candles in your room

Scented candles can be very relaxing but they also strip the air in the room of oxygen. They can increase particle concentration in your room making it harder to breathe inside as well.

 

8. Keep windows closed and seal them if possible

Needless to say, avoid opening windows and inviting the smog inside your room. PSA: Keep the balcony doors and the windows in the washrooms closed with the exhaust fans switched off.

 

9. Prepare, prepare and prepare

Make sure that you’ve stocked up on essential medicines and food from the tuck shop to avoid unnecessary trips and last-minute panic.

Photo by Dominik Martin on Unsplash

 

10. Remember your home remedies

In case you do get affected by the smog even after being super cautious, don’t be disheartened. Take steam 1-2 times a day (with a few drops of eucalyptus oil if you can) to relieve the irritation, relax your air passages and aid your body in removing the harmful substances. You can also find below a link to another article which details remedies for getting over the flu.

Related: A Flu Season Guide For First Years (Or Anyone, Really)

 

Bonus Tip: Avoid answering the question “Kya chal raha hai?” with “Smog chal raha hai! *snicker snicker*” to avoid losing friends and self-respect :P

 

*****

 

If you’re experiencing it for the first time, the smog can be a little scary. But, you have a strong support system backing you here at Ashoka. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your roommate, friends, floormates, RA, seniors, Didis and the Wardens. They’ll be more than happy to help.

Stay safe. And remember, this too shall pass!

 

Sources:

Banerjee, T. (2017). Economic Times. Smog taking your breath away? Simple tips to stay safe and healthy. Retrieved from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/smog-taking-your-breath-away-tips-and-tricks-to-stay-safe-and-healthy/articleshow/61576391.cms

Fleming, A. (2017). The Guardian. Smog tips: What to do when there’s a pollution warning. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/13/smog-alert-what-to-do-when-pollution-warning

Sharma, V. (2017). News 18. Delhi Smog: Your guide to buying the best anti-pollution mask. Retrieved from: https://www.news18.com/news/india/delhi-smog-your-guide-to-buying-the-best-anti-pollution-mask-1572359.html

The Indian Express. (2017). Delhi Smog: Expert tips on how to save yourself from air pollution. Retrieved from: https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/delhi-smog-doctors-share-tips-on-how-to-save-yourself-from-air-pollution-4928685/

Aqsa Pervez

Ashoka '19

An avid reader, she reads almost anything she can lay her hands on. She can share anything except cookies. She enjoys moonlit walks, whistling and basking in the winter sun.
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