Air Pollution: A Leading Cause for Respiratory Diseases


Air Pollution: A Leading Cause for Respiratory Diseases

Hema is a stay-at-home mom living in Delhi. Her 10-year-old son would often complain of breathing discomfort every evening after playing cricket outside. She was not aware that her son had asthma until she consulted her doctor.

Respiratory diseases like Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and Pneumonia are on the rise. The air quality in many major cities in India is deteriorating, and health experts warn about the adverse health effects of air pollution that on people’s health. According to a recent report, State of Global Air 2020, over 1.16 lakh infants lost their lives in their first month of life in 2019. It is indeed alarming to know that outdoor pollution and poor air quality due to household particulate matter were the causes of these deaths. The report also mentioned that long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution resulted in over 1.67 million annual deaths in 2019 due to stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases, and neonatal diseases in India. 

One should be aware of the damage pollution can cause to the lungs and other organs. Breathing in polluted air can irritate the airways, giving rise to lung-related problems and other severe ailments.

A medical emergency can also severely impact a family’s finances. Family health insurance plans have great relevance today - a time when you must spend a lot of money on getting quality medical care in a renowned healthcare centre. Hence, one should consider investing in a family health cover that would provide affordable coverage during any medical crisis. 

What Type of Pollution Causes Various Diseases Related to the Respiratory System?

Air pollution can impact the health of humans plants, and animals. Vehicular exhaust, construction activities, cigarette smoking, emissions from factories and odours from sewers and garbage dumps are some major sources of outdoor air pollution. On the other hand, indoor pollution is another major area of concern and is caused by kitchen fumes, poor ventilation, and dampness leading to the growth of moulds, rugs, etc.

When one breathes in the polluted air, the particulate matter – comprising minute particles of dust, smoke allergens, and chemicals – enters the lungs and irritates the airways. It may also cause inflammation. Moreover, carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that can obstruct the oxygen supply to the heart.

Air pollution has both long-term and short-term effects on human health. Young and older people alike have higher chances of facing the health hazards caused due to pollution. Pollution can weaken the lungs, making them susceptible to infections. The situation becomes complicated for people who are already suffering from any chronic disease. 

How Does Air Pollution Affect Our Respiratory System?

Toxic air quality can lead to numerous ailments. Respiratory and lung diseases are among the most significant since the microparticles quickly enter our lungs through the nasal tract. Lung cancer is mainly linked to smoking. However, this severe lung ailment can also be due to poor air quality caused by vehicular exhaust, chemicals, etc.

Moreover, studies have shown that cardiovascular diseases can also affect people owing to breathing pollution over some time.

The short-term and long-term effects of air pollution on human health are mentioned below.

Short-Term Effects of Air Pollution

The impact of air pollution may be initially visible in the form of minor symptoms such as

  • Irritation in the nose, throat, eyes, or skin
  • Chronic cough
  • Sore throat
  • Chronic Mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Long Term Effects of Air Pollution

Continuous exposure to air pollutants may also lead to long-term health problems such as:

  • Weak immune systems
  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Lung disorders like emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, and chronic bronchitis
  • Damages to vital organs like nerves, brain, kidneys, and liver
  • Birth Defects
  • Low reproductive rates

Some of the diseases caused due to air pollutants can have other adverse consequences like stroke. Hence, protecting oneself from the polluted environment is vital. By doing so, you are ensuring your overall well-being while increasing longevity.

Tackling the short-term effects will not only help you minimise the discomfort but also prevent serious health complications later on.

>> Check: Critical Mediclaim

Tips to Tackle Air Pollution

Air pollution is a serious concern, and the government is taking the necessary steps to bring the air quality to acceptable levels. It is a crucial step that will help minimise the risks of diseases caused by air pollution. However, the collective efforts of individuals would also make a world of difference.

Here are some useful tips for dealing with air pollution:

  • Choose car-pooling or use public transport
  • Try reducing the number of car trips and choose to walk
  • Use eco-friendly paints and cleaning products
  • Invest in an air purifier or keep indoor plants in the house
  • Schedule your exercise routine to avoid inhaling polluted air
  • Use of clean fuels for cooking
  • Conserve electricity and switch to solar power
  • Choose sustainable products
  • Use household appliances judiciously
  • Install exhaust fans to reduce moisture inside the home
  • Keep house clean and dust-free
  • Wear smog masks
  • Quit smoking

 >> Also Read Tips to Protect from Unhealthy Air


Pollution has become a serious concern, and every individual must do his bit to overcome its damaging effects on our planet. You can start with one small step that will go a long way. At the same time, it is vital to understand the current situation, especially when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic, which is a contagious virus that can cause respiratory disease.

Investing in health insurance will give you peace of mind and the confidence to access medical care without thinking about the high medical bills. 

Safeguard yourself from the ill-effects of air pollution and the financial impact of medical treatment with Family Health Insurance Plans by Care Health Insurance.

>> Also Read: Dos and Don'ts for Respiratory Diseases

Disclaimer: All plan features, benefits, coverage, and claims underwriting are subject to policy terms and conditions. Kindly refer to the brochure, sales prospectus, and policy documents carefully.

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