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Breathe Better, Live Better: Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself from Unhealthy Air

Picture source: USA Today

Jakarta recently topped the list of most polluted air of any urban area in the world. The main reason is due to the large number of vehicles and the lack of green space. Poor air quality in Jakarta is forcing people to find a way to deal with pollution. With conditions seemingly getting worse, many people are wondering how to stay healthy despite the harmful fumes they breathe. In the city, we can see more and more people wearing typical green surgical masks, but is it really enough to protect us from this environment?

Here are some tips on how to stay healthy in one of the most polluted cities in the world:

1. Wear a mask in denser areas

The Jakarta Health Authority recommends that people wear higher quality masks to best prevent polluted air from entering the lungs. People should invest in N95-type respirators because they can filter out smaller particles from the air. These masks have proven to be effective as it is the type of mask used by surgeons when treating patients who may have highly infectious diseases.

2. Avoid exercising outdoors during peak pollution hours

A daily morning run or walk is a popular form of exercise in the city. However, while exercise is necessary, it does more harm than good when air quality is not ideal. It is best to do these exercises in the evening when the pollution has subsided or early in the morning before your usual commute time.

3. Avoid high traffic areas

Normally, pollution from highways or busy streets will be denser within 150 meters. This is where pollution is highest and associated with high rates of asthma and impaired lung function. When possible, try to avoid these areas or minimize time spent outdoors. If this is unavoidable, it is best to invest in an N95 respirator as previously recommended.

4. Ventilate your home

In humid environments like Jakarta, it's tempting to close the doors and windows in your home and leave the air conditioner on all day. However, the risk of indoor pollution is as great as outdoor pollution. It is necessary to ventilate your home to keep the air fresh and avoid stale air related diseases. It is best to do this between 3pm and 3pm. and 5 p.m. when carbon emissions are lowest. If this is not possible, this can also be done late in the evening, when traffic in the area has slowed.

5. Take regular trips away from the city

It is important for our body to rest because the heavily polluted air in Jakarta can put a strain on the immune system. You don't have to invest in expensive trips to popular destinations like Bali, just get away from towns where pollution levels aren't high. A well-deserved vacation every few weeks could be just what your body needs to stay healthy on a daily basis.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Kompas

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