Fog has once again engulfed many parts of North India including Delhi, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Here is how it is harmful for your health.

When you think of a North India winter, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Most people would say the FOG.

Fog is basically a low-lying cloud where accumulation of water takes place from local water bodies. Fog rarely lasts longer after sunrise and has no major ill effect other than reducing visibility. But it is when this fog is mixed with other pollutants to form smog that it becomes dangerous for your health. 

The main reason for the formation of smog is the increasing air pollution. Air pollutants from cars like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and various industrial pollutants like carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, ozone and particulate matter mix with fog to form a dense layer in the atmosphere called smog. Smog tends to linger in the atmosphere throughout the day, giving rise to a variety of ailments.

Smog brings with it a number of respiratory and other disorders, here are some: 

  1.  Lung function: The fine-suspended particulate matter in the air gets lodged in the lungs, clogging them and decreasing their functional capacity which increases episodes of wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
  2. Coughing: One of the main ways that pollution causes cough is due to the inhalation of smog that can give rise to about of coughing, as your airways get irritated.
  3.  Asthma: Particulate matter that is suspended in smog makes it more difficult for patients with asthma to breathe. It not only worsens it but prolongs the episodes too.
  4.  Bronchitis: Prolonged exposure to smog also worsens bronchitis. In bronchitis,the mucous membranes get inflamed which are irritated by the pollutants, making the condition worse.
  5. Eye irritation: Pollutants in the air tend to irritate the membranes of the eye causing various infections leading to redness or swelling of the eye.

How to protect yourself from smog?

  1. Smog is a natural phenomenon which is the result of man-made activities. To prevent smog from harming your health, you must ensure that you limit exposure to it. 
  2. Avoid places which have huge amounts of air pollutants like traffic junctions, industrial zones, etc.
  3. Cover your face with a scarf/stole to prevent inhaling smog.
  4. Preventing air pollution can effectively reduce smog formation.