Can Air Pollution Cause Mental Health Issues? Here's What You Need To Know
Studies show, air pollution can not only impact our physical health but also hinder our mental health.
Air pollution along with other factors can cause or worsen mental health issues
Air pollution can cause irreversible damage to our bodies. Studies have long shown its impact on our lungs, cardiovascular health, general health and many other factors. However, more studies have shown that prolonged exposure to poor air quality might even affect our mental health.
The largest study of its type has found a connection between air pollution exposure and a rise in the severity of the mental disease. The study, which involved 13,000 adults in London, discovered that even a modest increase in nitrogen dioxide exposure increased the likelihood of needing community-based care by 32% and hospital admission by 18%.
The research's conclusions were probably applicable to the majority of developed-nation cities, and reducing air pollution might help millions of people. It is possible to reduce population-level exposure to air pollution on a large scale.
Individual-level interventions to control exposure to air pollution for better mental health are actually fairly challenging.
According to some research, even brief, transient exposure to air pollution may raise the likelihood of developing mental illnesses like schizophrenia and depression, with harm beginning as early as childhood. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, more than 90% of children worldwide breathe air that is contaminated at levels that are harmful to their health and development.
Since children's brains and behaviour are still developing up until late adolescence and early adulthood, air pollution, particularly PM2.5, may have a disproportionately negative impact on their mental and emotional growth, as well as on cognitive and behavioural results.
Based on one theory linking PM2.5 to occurrences of mental health problems in early childhood, extreme mental health symptoms brought on by exposure to air pollution are bad enough to send kids to the ER for psychiatric treatment.
Keeping these things in mind it is necessary to take necessary steps to reduce the negative impact of air pollution to the extent possible. Here are some ways in which you can reduce the effects of air pollution on your mental health:
- Look up local forecasts for daily air pollution. You can find out when the air quality in your area is unhealthy with color-coded forecasts.
- Always stay away from busy locations when you're exercising. High levels of pollution can be produced by traffic on congested roadways even when the air quality forecast is in the green.
- Pay attention to your home's air quality because it could also be bad for your health. Fine particles and ozone are two examples of external contaminants that might enter your home.
- The first step in keeping the smokey air out of your house is to keep your windows closed. Filtration and circulation would come next. Use fans to move the air around your house, and if you can, use filters to get rid of any airborne debris.
- Smoke protection is often not provided by cloth masks. You should wear an N95 mask to filter out small particles while providing smoke protection. Cloth masks generally let through fine particles.
- The removal of airborne particles can benefit from air purifiers. You can buy air purifiers that have undergone more thorough testing for removing particular particle sizes.
- Ensure that no one is allowed to smoke indoors and encourage initiatives to make all public spaces smoke-free.
Keep these things in mind to ensure better physical and mental health.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
DoctorNDTV is the one stop site for all your health needs providing the most credible health information, health news and tips with expert advice on healthy living, diet plans, informative videos etc. You can get the most relevant and accurate info you need about health problems like diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, weight loss and many other lifestyle diseases. We have a panel of over 350 experts who help us develop content by giving their valuable inputs and bringing to us the latest in the world of healthcare.