How to protect against smog?


The air quality in Poland is one of the worst in Europe, specially during autumn and winter when the pollution is the highest. These are some practical advices how to neutralize the side effects of smog breathing.

Smog is an unnatural atmospheric phenomenon that is generated as a result of human activity and adverse conditions – fog and windless weather. The word “smog” was created from a combination of two English words: smoke and fog.

With the start of the heating season in many cities, such as Kraków and Wrocław, standards regarding the level of suspended particulates are regularly exceeded – often by several hundred percent. The main sources of these toxins are home heating installations, fired with coal and wood, and to a lesser extent, car transport.

– Smog mainly has an irritating effect. In healthy people, it can cause headaches and irritability. You may also experience insomnia, an increase in heart or nervous system disorders. Sometimes, when we inhale polluted air, viral infections may occur. On the other hand, in people with respiratory problems, for example allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pneumonia, may occur attacks of strong cough, shortness of breath and chest pains. We often deal with the itch of the nose or reddened conjunctivitis under the influence of smog – mentions doctor Małgorzata Jędrzejczak, specialist in pulmonology.

Few tips how to deal with the smog

Get an anti-smog mask
We may still look askance at such remedies in Poland, but in many cities around the world, dust masks are there on the agenda sheet. Good models – submachron masks type Hepa with filters – can stop almost 100% of impurities. If you live in an extremely dirty area, you have to leave your home often and spend a lot of time in ‘fresh’ air, think about such an investment.

Get an air purifier or flowers
It will be beneficial to insert flowers that absorb pollution such as Phoenix roebelenii or Chrysanthemum morifolium.

Monitor the level of air pollution
Install the mobile application, which allow you to learn how the air condition in your area looks like. If the pollution is very high, think about whether it is necessary to leave now. Perhaps the air outside the rush hour or the next day will be much better, so if the matter is not particularly important, it is worth rescheduling. Avoid also opening the windows during these hours.

Supplement diet
Take care of your diet. Vitamins A, C, E and selenium will help to neutralize the excess of free radicals in the body that arise from breathing contaminated air.

Breathe through your nose
The nose is a natural air filter. Nose breathing is much healthier than breathing your mouth.

Go outside the city
Even a few days without pollution and smog can help your body. Note: air in the suburbs is often much worse than in the city. Before you get a break from the smog, make sure that wherever you go, there is no more problem. A well-known example is the city of Zakopane, identified with clean, mountain air. In Zakopane, the air is often weaker in quality than in the Polish capital of smog – Krakow.

Try to avoid busy streets
A lot of pollution is generated by cars. If you have the option, do not travel during rush hours.

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