Air pollution is present across the globe. Unfortunately, unclean air can have a severe impact on our health. Read on to discover more about the effects of air pollution and how it impacts your body.
What Is Air Pollution?
Air pollution describes a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air. Natural sources like windblown dust, volcanoes, and wildfires can impact air quality, but so can human activities like driving, operating power plants and chemical factories, and mining. The compounds these events release into the air can lead to worrying health problems.
How Air Pollution Impacts Your Health
Air pollution has various effects on human health, both short and long term. Some of the most common health problems associated with air pollution include:
- Respiratory problems. Air pollution can cause many respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. It can also aggravate existing respiratory conditions.
- Cardiovascular problems. Poor air quality may also impact your heart, as it increases the risk of developing various cardiovascular conditions.
- Cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies air pollution as a Group A carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer. Exposure increases the risk of developing cancer, particularly lung cancer.
- Other health problems. Air pollution can also cause other health problems, including eye irritation, headaches, and fatigue.
How To Protect Yourself From Air Pollution
Fortunately, you can take steps to protect your health. These include:
- Avoiding high-traffic areas. Traffic is one of the primary sources of air pollution, so avoiding busy streets and intersections can help reduce your exposure to pollutants.
- Wearing a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect your lungs from the harmful effects of air pollution.
- Staying indoors on days with elevated levels of air pollution. On days when the air quality is poor, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible. Remaining inside until the air quality improves significantly reduces your exposure to harmful compounds.
- Limiting outdoor activities. If you must go outside on days with poor air quality, try to limit your outdoor activities as much as possible.
- Regularly changing air filters at home. Every time you open your home’s doors or windows, you allow in particles from outside. Maintaining your home’s air filters is one of many ways to reduce air pollution at home.
While the effects of air pollution can impact your body in many ways, it’s best to stay aware, not anxious. Take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home, but don’t let concerns about air quality stop you from enjoying outdoor activities.Stay safe and breathe easy!