Smog is a type of air pollution that occurs in urban areas with a lot of population. The term smog was first coined in the year 1905 for the smoke and fog that had been plaguing London at the time.
Smog includes a lot of air pollutants that range from coal soot, emissions from industries and exhaust fumes. Most of the smog we see today is photochemical smog, which is generated when sunlight reacts with volatile compounds and nitrogen oxides (released from all the sources mentioned above) present in the air.
Ground-level ozone also forms when sunlight hits these chemicals in the air. Ozone may be helpful when it is present high in the atmosphere but at ground level, it can lead to lung damage, especially in those with asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. It can also irritate the eyes and nose and increase your susceptibility to infections.
Air quality index (AQI)
Air quality index is one way to monitor air pollution and smog in your area. As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an AQI between 0 and 50 is good, between 51 and 100 is moderate, 101 to 150 unhealthy for sensitive groups and 151 to 200 unhealthy. AQI between 201 and 300 is listed as very unhealthy and that between 301 and 500 as hazardous for health.
Protecting yourself from unhealthy air
The American Lung Association and the EPA recommend the following to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the harmful effects of unhealthy air and air pollution:
Apart from this, you can also use masks while going outdoors to reduce your exposure to pollution.
For more information, read our article on Lung disease.
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