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With AQI well over 350 in Delhi, 7 things that parents can do to keep kids healthy

Since children spend a lot of time outdoors, it is important to encourage them to practice yoga and eat a healthy diet, say doctors



The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the capital has been very poor for several days now. Cough, cold, watering and irritation in the eyes are some issues that most Delhiites have been facing. While adults can weather these a little better since their immunity is higher, children, on the other hand, are facing the brunt of AQI levels when the levels jumped over 450 last week.

 So what can parents do to protect their kids from pollution? “Nature provides a free lunch, but only if we control our appetites,” goes a saying by William Ruckelshaus.

 According to Sangeeta Nistandra, Principal of Apeejay School, Rama Mandi in Jalandhar: “Environmental pollution is, at present, one of the biggest challenges the world is facing. December 2 is observed as National Pollution Control Day every year. The aim behind celebrating this day is to raise awareness about the problem caused by increasing pollution because everyone on the earth is entitled to clean air to breathe, water to drink, and to enjoy public lands,” she said.

“Environmental pollution is currently one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today”

Sangeeta Nistandra, Principal, Apeejay School, Rama Mandi

Nistandra also added that her school has created a small experiential garden where students can go and familiarise themselves with various herbs like mint, tulsi, ajwain that have several health benefits. “We even tell our students how certain plants like Snake Plant, Spider Plant, and even Aloe Vera can help reduce air pollution. Planting these in pots and keeping them on the balcony or even near the windows can bring in oxygen throughout the day and cut down several lung-related infections,” Nistandra said.

Dr Ankit Prasad, consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Noida said that there are several precautions that parents can take to ensure that their wards remain safe with such high levels of AQI. He suggested that parents and kids follow COVID-19 protocol.

“Parents and kids must follow the COVID-19 protocol – children must frequently wash their hands and wear a mask”

Dr Ankit Prasad, consultant, Department of Paediatrics, Fortis Hospital, Noida

“In other words, children must frequently wash their hands. They must wear a mask when they are in school. They must avoid touching their nose and mouth frequently. This will help to prevent the virus from entering the nasal passage,” Dr Prasad recommended.


1. Once the child is back from school he/she must wash face properly; they must blow their nose as well to flush out any infection in the nasal trap. This is something that even teachers and parents can do once they are home.

2. Parents must give their child a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed juice of
lemon as well once they are back from school to flush out any viruses.

3. If the family is living in an area that is high in pollution, air purifiers (Hepa filters) can be used.

4. Parents can plant some greens like Snake Plant, Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Money Plant, and Areca Palm. Two of each, depending on the size of the area available, can help cut air pollution.

5. Nasal sprays can be used too.

6. Parents must ensure that their child is not going out unnecessarily.

7. Eat home-cooked food that is rich in vitamin-enriched antioxidants. Foods like rajma, broccoli, guava, beetroot, pomegranate, and spinach to name a few can be part of the daily diet for kids.

Dr Pooja Sabharwal of Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan in the capital said that air pollution has hit a hazardous level in the Delhi-NCR region, affecting the health of all those living here. The unhealthy spike in the air has brought along many health issues, she said especially among high-risk groups.

“The prevailing condition of air pollution specifically in the North is going to affect the kids, especially school-goers. Even after the conditions normalise, the quality of air will not be of a healthy level,” Dr Sabharwal warned.

“The prevailing condition of air pollution specifically in the North is going to affect the kids, especially school-goers”

Dr Pooja Sabharwal of Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan

After the pandemic, most people have low immunity and many of them are tackling respiratory problems. Children too are facing health issues due to the constantly changing environment.

“Unfortunately, children are more prone to problems since their immunity is still building. They are exposed to the outer environment for longer periods and are usually more active when outdoors. Consequently, they inhale more polluted outdoor air than adults,” Dr Sabharwal said and shared a few Ayurveda tips that can help parents to keep their kids healthy.

  • Kids can practice several yoga postures and pranayama techniques like sukhasana, bhujangasan, matsyasan, dhanurasan, ardha matsyendrasana, and anulom-vilom to name a few.
  • We should give food to a kid that is hot to build their immunity like turmeric milk, tulsi, adrak (ginger), laung (clove), daalchini (cinnamon), and kaali mirch (black pepper).
  • Give bajra in the form of khichdi or roti. Bajra has high nutritious value.
  • Avoid giving junk food, and cold items like ice creams, cold drinks, rice, and curd.
  • Avoid exposure to cold rooms. Keep the fans on low speed or turn them off if possible.
  • Use methi, and pippali as they are very good for kids who have weak lungs.
  • Use khajoor (dates) with milk (only if the kid is non-diabetic).

Agreed Ishant of Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Ayurved Charak Sansthan. He opines that sweating more can help. “Drink warm milk or tea or soup and stay in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. Don’t suppress the urge to cough. Remove unwanted harmful particles from the lungs. For the next couple of weeks or till air quality improves, younger kids should stay inside their houses to prevent them from exposure to polluted air,” he stressed.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.

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