How to Survive Toxic Air Pollution

      March 05, 2019 13:28

      Ultrafine dust or PM2.5 levels in Seoul soared to 164 ㎍/㎥ on Monday, prompting authorities to issue emergency measures to lower emission levels for a fifth day running. But how are ordinary people to protect themselves in such conditions?

      The best thing to do is to stay inside. Keep windows closed and turn on the air cleaners. But the problem is carbon dioxide.

      Lee Sei-won at Asan Medical Center in Seoul said, "Failure to ventilate the home could cause the air quality indoor to reach more hazardous levels than outside especially after cooking and due to rising levels of carbon dioxide."

      Smog blankets Seoul on Tuesday. /Newsis

      Experts advise ventilating the home for about 10 minutes every two to three hours by opening the windows about a third of the way.

      Be sure to wear a mask when stepping outdoors, preferably with KF80, 94 or 99 written on them. The higher the number, the better they are at filtering out ultrafine dust. But they also make it harder to breathe. Doctors recommend KF94 masks.

      Wearing glasses is better than contact lenses when the air is bad, because fine particles could get trapped between your eyes and lenses damaging your cornea. Ultrafine dust contains sulfur dioxide, quartz, lead and other chemicals and heavy metals.

      Be sure to wash your hands after returning home and stay hydrated. Doctors recommend 1.5 to two liters of water a day. Sluicing out the nose with saline solution also helps. 

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