A thick smog settled over New Delhi forcing medical professionals to declare a public health emergency. The immediate effects of air pollution are hard to ignore. Watery eyes, coughing, and difficulty in breathing are some of the most common reactions. Our national capital's air quality index has gone from 'worse' to 'severe' and exposure to the dangerous level of pollution can lead to deadly lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer to say the least. So what do you do to protect your lungs? While improving the AQI may not be in your hands, you can certainly make a few lifestyle changes to prevent further damage to your lungs. Here's how.

Reduce Exposure to Chlorine

Chlorine exposure does not only come from drinking water but also absorbing and inhaling it. In fact, just a five-minute shower can expose you to a day's worth of drinking tap water. The best thing to do is to invest in a little shower filter that is available at most hardware stores at an affordable price. As Air Pollution Level Increases, Here Are Home Remedies to Strengthen Immunity.

Practice Deep Breathing through Nose

The passageways of your nasal cavity can help humidify and purify incoming air. So when you breathe through your nose, the air eventually reaches the lungs with fewer irritants such as foreign debris and bacteria. The air is also warm and damp. So take a deep breath through your nose and feel your rib cage expanding in the front and back of your body.  Slowly exhale through your nose, and repeat.

Try Steam Therapy

Steam therapy or steam inhalation involves inhaling water vapour to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus. All the pollutants in the air can worsen your lung condition by drying out the mucous membranes in the airways and restricting blood flow. Steam can improve breathing and help loosen mucous inside the airways and lungs, giving you immediate relief. Legionnaires’ Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment of the Lung Infection.

Avoid Mucous Forming Foods

When you have more mucous in your lungs, you have less lungs capacity. It is, therefore, important to avoid mucous-forming foods such as sugar and anything processed or dairy. Also, avoid any foods you have been allergic to or sensitive to such as wheat or soy. Make sure that you eat a clean diet to keep your lungs healthy.

Avoid Cold Drinks and Foods

Your lung tissue is extremely sensitive and consuming any cold food or drink can dilate the sensitive lung tissue. Therefore, embrace warm, cooked foods such as roasted vegetables and soup even if the temperature is a little high outside.

Avoid Activities That Cause Indoor Air Pollution

With the pollution levels hitting dangerous levels, it is best that you stay indoors. Keep doors and windows closed to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Also, avoid burning candles and gas stoves as much as possible to cut down on indoor air pollution. Vacuuming can stir up particles already inside your home so skip using the vacuum cleaner. Aloe Vera, Peace Lily and Boston Ferns: 7 Indoor Plants That Will Keep Your Home Pollutant Free.

Young children are far more susceptible to pollution than adults, due to their immature and developing systems. Essentially children could be at risk of breathing in some nasty and harmful chemical species, such as iron, aluminium, so try and keep them indoors as much as possible.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 08, 2019 01:08 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).