Fine dust from uninvited guests in winter

The reason the snow that fell recently doesn’t look white is probably because of the concern that it might be full of fine dust. Recently, due to the influence of China, the concentration of fine dust in Seoul has more than tripled, and an ‘ultra-fine dust advisory’ has been issued for the first time ever in Seoul.

In winter in Korea, the northwest monsoon wind blows, and pollutants are more likely to pass over from China on this wind. As fine dust emissions increase due to heating in winter, high concentrations of fine dust may continue to appear in the future, which threatens our lives and health. Let’s talk about fine dust

What is fine dust and why should you refrain from going out?

Fine dust is small dust that floats in the air about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. The particle diameter is smaller than 10㎛ (micrometer, 1㎛ is 1/1,000mm), so it is not filtered by the nose hair or mucous membrane, which is our body’s filter. It penetrates into the lungs with respiration, enters the eyes well, and is well absorbed into the skin. In addition, fine dust from China these days contains a large amount of heavy metals, which adversely affects health.

In particular, fine dust with a diameter of 2.5 μm or less is called ‘ultra-fine dust’, and the particles are smaller and can penetrate deep into the lungs or enter the blood, making it even more harmful to the human body.
Fine dust is adsorbed to the skin and enters pores, causing skin problems, allergic conjunctivitis or keratitis in the eyes, allergic rhinitis when entering the nose, respiratory diseases such as bronchitis or asthma, headache or dizziness , vomiting may also occur. In particular, in the case of ultrafine dust, it not only damages the lungs but also travels through the blood and can cause brain and cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer under the World Health Organization (WHO) recently designated fine dust as a class 1 carcinogen. Therefore, it is recommended that healthy people refrain from outdoor activities on days when the concentration of fine dust is high, and people with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases or the elderly with weakened immunity need even more attention.


Protect your health from fine dust

1. Always wear a ‘yellow dust mask’ when going out.

Fine dust cannot be blocked by using a general mask or by simply covering your hands or nose. Fine dust particles are small, so when going out, you should wear a mask with high filter efficiency, such as a yellow dust mask. The ‘Yellow Dust Mask’ is a mask that can block fine dust and ultra-fine dust by blocking more than 80% of dust particles with a diameter of 0.04 to 1.0 ㎛. and ‘For yellow dust prevention’ must be used. When wearing a yellow dust mask, it is recommended to be careful not to leave any gaps between the masks.

2. Shut off the outside air and wash your hands after going out.

Since fine dust has a higher concentration outdoors than indoors, when indoors, close windows to minimize the inflow of outdoor air. However, it is recommended to ventilate around noon when the concentration of ultrafine dust drops due to the high air movement. If you are concerned about fine dust indoors, it may be helpful to grow plants that absorb fine dust. In addition, it is recommended to frequently wash hands that are most easily exposed to the air when going out, and to rinse not only your hands, but also the parts directly exposed to the air and the nose, mouth, and throat, which are respiratory organs, with water after going out.

3. Drink water often.

The main effect of water is to remove waste products from the body out of the body. It is important to drink water frequently because drinking water frequently has the effect of discharging not only general waste products but also harmful substances in the fine dust of the respiratory mucosa out of the body. Juicy vegetables or pear juice are also good. For reference, the myth that pork fat washes fine dust from the mucous membranes of the mouth and bronchial tubes has not yet been proven effective.

4. Check the waiting information of the outing area.

Check fine dust information through the Korea Environment Corporation’s air environment information site ‘Air Korea (http://www.arikorea.or.kr)’ So, it is helpful to be careful when going out.

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