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How Poor Air Quality Affects Your Health

October 16, 2019

It’s easy to take for granted the air we breathe everyday. It’s all around us, invisible, but essential to keeping us alive. Similar to the water we drink, the air we breathe can have a direct impact on our health. We often ignore the quality of these life altering components until it’s too late, but there are many ways in which poor air quality can affect your health.

Air quality in the United States has been improving for decades, but according to the EPA, we’ve taken a step back over the past few years. Having said that, air pollution has improved drastically compared to the 1980’s. The variables that contribute to air pollution is complex, which includes man-made pollutants as well as contamination from wildfires. It’s important to support movements and legislation that can help improve air pollution, but those efforts and changes won’t happen overnight. That’s why it’s equally important to understand what air pollution can do to your body and how you can limit your exposure.

Air pollution has been linked to a variety of health problems including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Unhealthy air can put stress on your lungs by limiting capacity and reducing the amount of oxygen entering your body. This can lead to diseases such as asthma as well as more serious ailments such as cancer. Children and elderly individuals are at a higher risk given their intolerance to harsh pollutants, but everyone should be vigilant about protecting their wellness. Those with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease and emphysema for example should be especially aware of their surroundings given their vulnerabilities. The World Health Organization estimates that one third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer, and heart disease are due to air pollution.

The direct impact of air pollution on human health is concerning, leading to a host of ailments that can be attributed to pollutants, but it can also have lingering effects on others. Poor air quality can affect women who are pregnant, leading to low birth weight, premature birth, or issues with neurodevelopment. It can also exacerbate symptoms for those with diabetes.

Reducing air pollution in your area may be a daunting task and changes your region makes today will likely take years before the effects are felt, but improving the air quality within your home is obviously a much simpler challenge. One straightforward way to improve the air quality within your home is to keep it clean. Dusting and sanitizing surfaces in your home can remove particles and impurities. Having greenery in your home can help purify the air you breath and work as a filtration system. But, changing the air filters in your home can have an immediate impact on removing irritants from the air within your home.

Air pollution is considered to be one of the greatest threats to human health, so we all need to be aware of our surroundings. Air quality won’t improve overnight, so being mindful of your own personal health and how you can improve the air you breath everyday could go a long way in reducing any symptoms of poor air quality and helping you lead a long healthy life.

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