The air quality is measured with sensors that are designed to detect certain air pollutants. Air pollution is made up of ozone, and particle pollution. Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk for early death. Air pollution doesn’t just have short term and long term effects on people, but it can also affect the health of plants as well.
The people who are most affected by air pollution are children, elderly, and people who already have existing conditions.
Children are more affected by pollution because children breathe more air than adults. Their nasal passages are smaller which makes them more sensitive to the pollutants as well. Young children are more susceptible to developing asthma. Children are also more outdoors than adults, usually.
Adults that are 65 or older are also more affected by air pollution. They are more prone to having heart and lung diseases already pre-existing. Which can cause them to be more aggravated by air pollution.
People who already have conditions like COPD, asthma, or diabetes are more affected by air pollution too.
People who are outdoorsy are also at a higher risk of developing symptoms from poor air quality. They have more exposure as well as they breathe more deeply and faster.
Types Of Air Pollution
There are two types of dominant air pollution. Ozone is also called smog, and particle pollution.
Particle pollution is the tiny solid and liquid particles in the air we breathe. It is the dirty looking part of the exhaust that comes out of an exhaust pipe. It is made up of chemical and mechanical pollutants.
Ozone pollution is at ground level. It is caused by reactive organic compounds and the oxides of nitrogen get heated by the sun’s UV rays. Ozone up in the atmosphere is not harmful. Ozone, or smog, that is at ground level can be very dangerous especially if breathed in long term.
The people who are most affected by high ozone levels are pregnant women, children, teens, adults 65 and older, people who have existing lung diseases, or people who work or exercise outdoors.
The amount of ozone pollution in the air can cause short term and long term effects on your health. Short term effects that can happen suddenly and last for hours after exposure are cough, headache, or irritation in the eyes, nose, or throat. Reduced lung function can occur. Along with it being more difficult to take a deep breath or to breathe as quickly. The amount of asthma attacks increase in poor air quality. It can also make you more sensitive to allergens such as dust, mites, pets, or pollen. High ozone levels can damage the lining of your lungs. Similar to the way you can get a sunburn, the ozone pollution can burn the lining of your lungs damaging your cells. Usually in a few days the cells repair themselves and you recover.
Long term effects mean you are inhaling poor air quality for over long periods such as more than 8 hours in a day, multiple days in a row, or months to years. It has been shown that poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk of early death. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and respiratory distress. Long term exposure can also lead to more hospitalization from asthma. Especially in children. It is also being studied that children who live in areas that have high ozone levels are at a greater risk of developing asthma at a younger age. When babies are born in areas that have high ozone areas there is a link of low birth weight and decreased lung function in the newborns. Long term exposure can increase the risk of metabolic disorders, glucose intolerance, and impact your central nervous system. High ozone levels can cause cardiovascular health problems too.
High ozone levels can affect plants. They can affect the growth, reproductions, and overall health of the plants. Plants and trees are weaker and are more affected by diseases, pests, and environmental stress. In some cases there can be a reduction in agricultural yields.
Particle pollution can cause very similar symptoms and effects as ozone pollution. The same group of people who are at higher risk of ozone pollution are similarly affected by particle pollution. Particle pollution is trying to be reduced in hopes for cleaner air.
Particle pollution can cause increased mortality in infants, it increases hospitalizations as well as increases the amount of asthma cases. Long term it can worsen COPD, slow lung function, increase the amount of heart attacks, increase strokes, increase lung cancer cases, and diabetes cases.
Avoid Bad Air
The best thing to do when you are in a high risk group for health effects of poor quality air is to stay indoors. Limit your time outside. Try to go out in the early mornings or evenings when the air quality is better. Middle of the day the air quality is at its worst.
Avoid exercising outside.
Do not open your windows when air quality is bad outside.
Air quality can affect your health both long term and short term.
Bad air quality can affect your short term and long term health! Clean air matters! #HealthSurgeon
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