What is smog?
Smog is a dense layer of stagnant air which forms near ground level when air pollution is high. It is more common in built-up cities with dense traffic or in areas near industry with high emissions. This harmful substance is created when sunlight reacts with gases, such as industrial emissions or car exhaust fumes, in the lower atmosphere. The high-pressure warm weather systems that we get on hot days tend to be slow moving, so they trap the polluted air at a low level in the atmosphere. But, although smog is associated with summer, winter smog can also occur. Cold foggy days are a particular problem as harmful gases can get trapped near the ground.
How would you feel waking up to a ‘gas chamber’?
It is clear that air pollution poses serious health risks and it is important that these concerns are addressed urgently and appropriately by the authorities.
However, the most vulnerable of all are the Children and the elderly.
Kids who already have asthma are particularly at risk when they play outside in polluted air. And while we all react to smog, children are among the groups most sensitive to poor air quality, as their respiratory systems are developing and they breathe in more air pollution per pound of body weight than adults.
What can you do in such Pollution emergency?
1) Timing is Everything: Limit kids’ outdoor physical exertion. Be aware that ozone often peaks in mid-afternoon and early evening. Adjust strenuous outdoor activity during off hours and/or reduce the intensity of the activity.
2) Pay Attention: Know how to recognize symptoms of respiratory discomfort, such as coughing, wheezing, breathing difficulty, and chest tightness – and reduce exposure if these occur. Asthmatic children are not the only ones at risk– all children are susceptible to these symptoms.
3) Rotate and Rest: Rotate players during physically exerting games and rest players to reduce exertion.
4) Have Options: Provide alternative activities that allow kids that have asthma or other respiratory problems to participate in activities that are less physical when pollution levels are high.
5) Play Indoors: If pollution levels are particularly high, move physical activities indoors where the air is filtered by an air conditioning system.
6) Plan Ahead: Asthma management is important and children with asthma should have adequate medication on hand and follow their asthma management plans.
7) Keep your own emissions to a minimum: Avoid unnecessary car journeys in cities, don’t rev up or leave your engine running for a long time outside your home on cold days or when stuck in traffic jams.
So, keep your loved ones safe from yet another man made evil and as it is always said “Precaution is better than cure”.