The need for clean air is as fundamental as the need for food, clothing, and shelter. This is due to the fact that without air, life cannot exist for even a minute. All living things, including humans, animals, and plants, need air to survive. The typical adult breathes between 15,000 and 20,000 litres of air daily.
Although air pollution is a health hazard for everyone, effect of air pollution on older adults are more coarse. The simplest and most obvious explanation is that ageing impairs the efficiency of all bodily functions. Over 138 million senior citizens live in India. Due to their declining health as well as their way of living, older individuals are more susceptible to health problems brought on by air pollution.
Poor Air Quality Index (AQI) can negatively affect elderly people's health throughout the long and short term. They are also more vulnerable to the severe impacts of air pollution on their ageing respiratory system and other key organs due to their weak bodies. Seniors' lungs lose their ability to filter clean air and eliminate toxins as they age. The presence of that contaminated air causes a variety of health issues for elders.
Another factor is that older people have weakened immune systems and are, therefore, less prepared to deal with the effects of an unhealthy environment. The bacteria that were once easily eliminated by their body system are now difficult for it to combat.
The majority of elderly people experience eyesight issues as they age. However, when the amount of airborne dust increases, the visual issue is multiplied. Seniors find it challenging to see clearly if pollution levels increase. They also experience itchy eyes, painful throats, and skin rashes on various regions of their bodies as a result of the severe pollution.
The heart is impacted, which is certainly not the least. Seniors' heart health deteriorates with age. If they breathe in contaminated air, these issues increase. The blood flow continues to drop, raising the risk of a heart attack.
Here we have listed down a few simple ways to tackle air pollution to take care of your elders:
Senior citizens and young children are particularly susceptible to the negative consequences of air pollution. When there is a lot of pollution, it is a good idea to purchase and wear a face mask outdoors for an extended period. On days with low AQI, remind them to wear N95 masks when walking outside. It's good that COVID has taught people to use pollution masks, but it's important to make sure that N95 masks are functional on days with high pollution levels because doing so can drastically lower exposure and safeguard health.
The first step is to determine whether the senior suffers from a condition that can worsen because of polluted air. Pollution has the greatest influence on respiratory disorders. There are warnings not to go outside if you have a respiratory illness or a high pollution index. These warnings should be monitored using an app or a computer, and one should take them seriously. On days with high levels of pollution, older should stay inside.
Whether in the home or business, there are techniques to combat indoor air pollution. The market is filled with many air purifiers that can be used to remove dangerous particulate matter. Install air purifiers in their homes and make sure they are turned on, particularly during months with high pollution.
In addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis, plants also increase humidity by evaporating water vapour through tiny leaf pores. They can passively absorb contaminants from the air on the surfaces of their leaves and in the soil around their roots. Indoor houseplants like the Peace Lily, Dracaena, Garden Mum, and Spider Plant filter the air while also improving the aesthetics of the space.
Encourage them to avoid using things like cigarettes, agarbattis, aerosol sprays, and hazardous chemicals to improve indoor air quality by educating them about these products' potential negative effects. Smoking should never be allowed indoors where there are senior citizens. Because they have frail lungs, seniors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of passive smoking. Inform elderly people living at home the value of cross ventilation, and encourage them to keep the windows open, turn on exhaust fans, or use chimneys when preparing food, particularly when frying or using agarbattis.
As we age, our bodies become more vulnerable to environmental health risks, which can aggravate chronic conditions. Additionally, older people's bodies have accumulated a lifetime's worth of toxins from the environment and their day-to-day lives. As the population ages, age-related diseases have a tendency to become more prevalent quickly.
To reduce the burden of age-related diseases, it is crucial to identify and treat potential risk factors for illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems. You can also have a dedicated health insurance plan for senior citizens to take care of the expenses brought on by any health emergency. Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan by Care Health Insurance is specially designed for your elderly parents above 60.
All forms of pollution are bad, but as we've seen, air pollution poses a serious health risk. As a responsible citizen, there are many actions you can take to lessen the effects of many types of pollution in general.
Take good care of yourself and those you love while being observant and mindful.
Disclaimer - The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.
Published on 1 Feb 2023
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