24 Hrs helpline: +91-11-30403040
of Excellence
Find a Doctor

What's New

View All


  • ...
  • ...
View all Testimonials

On a bad air day, wear a mask!

[Back to News]
On a bad air day, wear a mask!
Posted On: 09-May-2014

Friday, 09 May 2014 | Iknoor Kaur | New Delhi 4

As the level of pollutants is surging in the Capital at an alarming rate, it will not be an exaggeration to say that residents may need to sport a mask before walking out of their houses. This is the simpler solution to avoid breathing in contaminated air as recommended by doctors in the wake of a recent report of the WHO declaring Delhi as the most polluted city in the world. They said affects of particulate matter such as carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the air can lead to fatal consequences. Dr Arup Kumar Basu, Senior Consultant in Department of Chest Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that the most lethal components in the air are carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide as lead is a heavy component and doesn’t stay in the atmosphere for long and affect elderly the most.

“What carbon monoxide does is reduce the oxygen in blood as it dissolves in it. It also binds the haemoglobin. In the case of elders, the oxygen levels are already low, thus, there is more depletion that occurs.” Said Dr Vikas Maurya, Consultant of Respiratory Medicine at BLK Super Speciality Hospital further added that this component caused equivalent damage as smoking.

Facts reveal that once two gases-nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide-dissolve with each other in the respiratory tract they can have dire consequences. “When the two gases dissolve, they leave out the acid radicals and cause damage to the tissues and lining of the respiratory tract. These components are also known to effect infants and elders the most as their immune systems are comparatively poor,” explained Basu. According to earlier studies, these gases cause irritation in the air wave which ultimately leads to lung cancer. However, in infants there is usually an increased viral infection that is patterned.

Everyone is constantly exposed to these components in the air because of their odourless and colourless nature, but doctors say that there are ways to avoid getting fiercely affected by them. One of the first measures suggested by them is wearing masks. However, Basu informed that not all masks can stop these toxic air pollutants. He said, “The normal mask used in hospitals is not enough. The mask that should be used is the 3m mask. That stops even the particulate matter from entering the respiratory tract.

Link: On a bad air day, wear a mask!


a passion for healing...