10-04-2024

NPHC Reminder on How to Behave in Case of Increased Air Pollution

 

2024-04-10

Today, air pollution levels at the stations in Vilnius Žirmūnai, Kaunas Petrašiūnai, and Šiauliai are high. Therefore, we strongly advise you to follow the recommendations below.

2024-04-09

The National Public Health Centre urges you to take note of the following steps when information about increased particulate matter in the ambient air is announced.

 Additionally, you can monitor the data and air pollution levels of all the automatic air quality monitoring stations in Lithuania on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), (updated hourly).

To avoid the impact of air pollution, the World Health Organisation recommends:
•    Avoid prolonged, physically demanding outdoor activities.
•    People at risk (children, pregnant women, or those with circulatory or respiratory diseases) should monitor their health closely, f feeling unwell, they should promptly contact their GP and stay indoors if there are no indoor sources of air pollution, such as wood-burning stoves or boilers. If indoor shelter is unavailable, it is advisable to avoid heavily trafficked roads and other visible sources of air pollution.
•    Clean rooms (especially bedrooms) using a damp mop.
•    If the contamination is very heavy, close all windows and doors tightly and cover the gaps between them.
•    When outdoors, consider wearing disposable face masks, ensuring they are worn properly to cover both the mouth and nose.
•    Refrain from activities that contribute to air pollution, such as building fires or cooking food in outdoor barbecues.


Impact of particulate matter on human health

Particulate matter is a mixture of airborne particles and liquid droplets, which may contain a variety of components such as acids, sulphates, nitrates, organic compounds, metals, soil particles, dust, soot, and biological components including allergens and micro-organisms. Larger particulate matter (PM10) typically affects the upper respiratory tract reaching the bronchi and often causing symptoms like coughing and sneezing. Conversely, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) penetrates deeper into the lungs and bloodstream, posing risks not only to the respiratory system but also to the organs of the circulatory system. This can lead to impairment of internal organ function and exacerbation of chronic diseases.

For some people, air pollution is particularly harmful

Infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with asthma and other respiratory and circulatory diseases are particularly susceptible to air pollution from particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants. These people are at risk and should be more vigilant.

Common symptoms of acute exposure to pollutants include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, shortness of breath, coughing, compromised lung function (especially notable in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), increased susceptibility to respiratory infections (particularly among children), and exacerbation of allergic inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract.