What is your child breathing? 5 Measures to Overcome Mumbai’s toxic air

Are you aware of the quality of air your child is breathing in Mumbai? In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook how our small actions can contribute to the already poor air pollution in Mumbai. Especially during this festive season, when we tend to make choices like bursting fireworks or opting for convenience over sustainability, we are unknowingly worsening the air quality that directly affects our children’s health. It’s time to take a step back and understand the impact of pollution on our kids, and what measures we can take to protect them. Let’s delve deeper into the issue and learn about 5 important measures we can implement to overcome Mumbai’s toxic air and safeguard our children’s well-being.

The Silent Trigger of Early Allergies in Children

Have you ever wondered what happens to the air we breathe when it’s constantly treated with emissions from vehicles and factories? The toxic gases and fine particulate matter they release linger in the atmosphere, becoming a part of the air we inhale. These pollutants can act as potent allergens, triggering early allergies in children. Their undeveloped immune systems are far more sensitive to pollutants than adults’, which makes them highly susceptible to developing allergic reactions.

What’s more, Mumbai’s close proximity to the sea coupled with its high humidity can exacerbate the problem. When high levels of pollution mix with humid air, it results in a dense, toxic fog that hangs low and remains trapped close to the ground. This translates into higher exposure levels for children, who are shorter and thus breathe air closer to the ground. This nasty mix of pollution and humidity makes for a dangerous cocktail for the health of our young ones, making them more prone to allergies and respiratory problems. Awareness of this silent trigger is the first step in taking preventive measures to protect our children’s health from the hazardous effects of air pollution.

The Current State of Air Quality in Mumbai

Did you know that Mumbai consistently ranks amongst the world’s top ten cities with the poorest air quality? The AQI (Air Quality Index) often hovers around 200, which according to the World Health Organisation, is classified as ‘poor’. This grim reality affects all of us, but our children bear the brunt of it.

Whilst we place our hopes on government policies for long-term air quality improvements, we must not forget that each one of us has a crucial role to play in this battle against toxic air. We all contribute to the pollution; thus, it only seems fair that we all play our part in reducing it.

Let’s shift our focus from the larger picture to our smaller, personal worlds. Imagine if we all made just a few changes in our daily routines and habits. Think about the difference it could make to Mumbai’s AQI and, most importantly, to the air our children breathe. Remember, it’s not just about surviving in this city; it’s about providing a healthier environment for our future generations to thrive.

Five Important Measures to Protect Your Child

Taking active steps towards reducing your child’s exposure to poor air quality is essential in safeguarding their health. Here are five essential measures you can adopt:

  1. Monitor air quality: Keep an eye on the local AQI. Use reliable sources to stay informed and limit your child’s outdoor activities on days when pollution levels are high.
  2. Improve Indoor air quality: Use air purifiers, ensure proper ventilation and curb indoor sources of pollution like tobacco smoke and cooking fumes.
  3. Sidestep high-traffic areas: When walking or cycling with your child, opt for routes away from busy roads to minimise exposure to traffic-related pollution.
  4. Advocate green spaces: Foster a love for the outdoors in areas with greenery and open spaces where pollution levels are comparatively lower.
  5. Minimise car emissions: Consider using public transportation or carpooling, and if you’re in the market for a new car, why not opt for an eco-friendly vehicle? This can significantly reduce emissions from your personal vehicles.

These measures, while not entirely eliminating the risk, can significantly reduce your child’s exposure to polluted air. Remember, every step you take towards cleaner air is a step towards a healthier future for your child.

Symptoms of Pollution Allergies and when to see a Paediatrician

Air pollution in Mumbai, as we know, can impact health. Pollution allergy symptoms can often mimic those of a common cold, making it difficult to identify if your child is suffering from pollution-induced allergies. Here are five signs to look out for: 

  1. Persistent coughing: A non-stop cough that refuses to go away could be a reaction to poor air quality. 
  2. Difficulty in breathing: If your child is gasping for air or experiences shortness of breath, it could be a symptom of an allergic reaction. 
  3. Frequent sneezing: Regular sneezing coupled with a runny nose is a common symptom of airborne allergies. 
  4. Itchy eyes or skin: Redness, irritation or itchiness in the eyes or skin could be due to allergies. 
  5. Fatigue or lack of energy: Poor air quality can lead to decreased oxygen levels in the blood, causing lethargy. 

Read more about From Sneezing to Coughing: Warning Signs Your Paediatrician Should Check for Children’s Respiratory Health Issues

If you observe any of these symptoms in your child, don’t wait for them to aggravate. It’s always best to consult a paediatrician at the earliest. Prompt intervention can help take corrective steps and prevent the progression of these allergies. Remember, early detection and treatment are key to combating pollution-induced health issues in children. 

To meet with our experienced team of paediatricians, please book an appointment to visit our clinic in South Mumbai (Prabhadevi). With our assessment and guidance, learn what is the true cause of your child’s symptoms and take the appropriate steps to improve their health and curb Mumbai’s pollution allergies.