When Air Quality Is Hazardous
Air pollution is a fact of life that can depend on where you live. It doesn’t matter if you live in a big city which has lots of green spaces within it. Or in a smaller town with more industry, air quality can be hazardous to your health. These days, it seems like there’s no escaping the negative impacts of pollution in our environment. Toxic chemical particles invade our lungs while we breathe, and smog clouds cover our cities.
Table of Content
1. When Air Quality In Your Area Is Hazardous
2. The Causes Of Smog And Protecting Yourself
3. Protect Yourself From Extreme Air Quality
4. Air Quality Conditions Can Cause Health Problems
5. Avoid Physical Activity During Poor Quality Air Days
6. Climate Change And Air Quality Are Inextricably Linked
When Air Quality In Your Area Is Hazardous
Have you been going about your day and suddenly realised that your local air quality has dramatically changed?
You’ve suddenly got a stinking hot metal taste in the back of your throat. Your eyes are bloodshot. And you start to wonder what happened to the sweet, sweet air you were breathing.
Air pollution is caused by a wide range of different factors (cars, factories, wood fires). But essentially, it’s tiny particles which are released into the atmosphere and make it harder for us to breathe properly.
The particulates can also cause long-term health problems. This can include asthma or lung cancer if they’re breathed in over time.
That metal taste in your mouth can be caused by both pollution and allergies. The sulphur content in pollution can cause a metallic taste in the back of your throat.
While pollen triggers an allergic reaction that results in a bitter taste on your tongue. This can also cause dry mouth or sore throat which are common symptoms of allergies too.
The Causes Of Smog And Protecting Yourself
Smog occurs when the atmosphere is very polluted. It is due to a combination of pollution from several sources in the air.
These sources include motor vehicles, power plants, industrial facilities, and oil refineries. Smog may also be caused by agricultural burning and photochemical reactions of gases emitted into the atmosphere.
Smog is a mixture of smoke and fog. The word “smog” was first used in London in the early 20th century to describe this type of air pollution.
Smog is an irritant to the eyes, nose, and throat of humans as well as animals. It can cause breathing problems for sensitive people. Or those with respiratory conditions such as asthma or emphysema.
Smog can affect some people more than others. That may be because they have been exposed to air pollution for many years. Or perhaps they already have a chronic lung disease such as asthma or emphysema.
Smog also affects plants by damaging leaves and causing them to drop their fruit before they are ripe.
If you’re worried about how smog could affect you, talk to your doctor about the best way to protect yourself. You may need medication or other treatments for your existing conditions.
You might benefit from wearing a mask over your nose and mouth when you go out on bad air days. A mask can help filter out some of the harmful particles in smog while still enabling you to breathe comfortably.
Protect Yourself From Extreme Air Quality
When it comes to the air you breathe, the worst-case scenario is having your air quality compromised by an extreme event.
Though it can be difficult to predict a severe storm or wildfire. But there are some things you can do to prepare for such rare, but damaging events.
You may be one of the millions of people who live in areas prone to wildfires and hurricanes. Yet there are still steps you can take steps to protect yourself from poor air quality during these events.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from high levels of air pollution is to stay indoors. If you have a choice, stay inside or in the shade when high ozone levels are forecasted.
If you’re outside and experiencing symptoms that are associated with high ozone levels. These include shortness of breath, coughing or chest pain, it’s best to head indoors immediately.
It’s also important to be aware of weather conditions that could lead to increased air pollution. For example, thunderstorms can increase ground-level ozone concentrations.
This is done by releasing organic compounds from vegetation into the atmosphere. High winds can also transport pollutants from one area of the city or state to another.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from poor air quality is knowing when conditions will be favourable for extreme events. This means knowing when thunderstorms or forest fires are likely to occur in your area so you can avoid those conditions if possible.
Air Quality Conditions Can Cause Health Problems
Air quality conditions in a location can cause health problems. Some pollutants are more irritating to the lungs than others. But air quality has more of an effect on sensitive groups of people. These include asthma sufferers, children, and the elderly.
Asthma – Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children. Air pollution makes asthma worse because it irritates the airways.
People with asthma may have trouble breathing or may develop chest tightness or pain. These symptoms often happen right after exposure to polluted air. And may also be triggered by exercise or cold temperatures.
Children – Air pollution will affect children more than adults. This is mostly because they breathe faster than adults per pound of body weight. And are also in closer contact with the ground where many pollutants settle.
Children also have smaller bodies which allow them to inhale more particles per breath than adults do. This increase in particle concentration may lead to respiratory problems such as wheezing and coughing.
Also, increased rates of hospitalisation for respiratory illnesses are notably higher among children who live near heavy traffic.
People with existing heart conditions may also be at risk from air pollution. Exposure to air pollution can increase blood pressure and heart rate and reduce lung function. This can lead to increased hospital admissions for heart problems among people who already have existing heart conditions.
People with diabetes may also be at risk from high levels of air pollution. This is because diabetes affects how well blood vessels work. Meaning that they might not be able to dilate enough to help remove any toxins from the bloodstream.
Avoid Physical Activity During Poor Quality Air Days
The greatest health care crisis is our generation’s response to living in an environment with deteriorating air quality. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that less green space, more vehicles.
Not forgetting a greater number of industrial facilities leads to more pollution in the air we breathe.
We are often told that physical activity is good for our health. The benefits include a stronger heart and lungs. Increased muscle strength. Improved balance, and better bone density.
Unfortunately, when it comes to air quality, physical activity can be detrimental to your health.
Poor air quality can be bad for our bodies. For example, when you’re exposed to high levels of air pollution, your lungs can become inflamed. This causes coughing and shortness of breath.
Avoid outdoor physical activity during poor-quality air days. When possible, try exercising indoors and close your windows.
If you live near heavy traffic, the effects are obvious. If you live in an area that has a high concentration of industrial facilities, then you know it too.
In addition to these environmental factors, there’s also what we do indoors. Like burning wood or coal for heat. This releases particulate matter into the air that we breathe.
The problem is that poor quality air days can cause serious health problems for everyone who spends time outdoors during them. Especially those who work outside for their job or exercise outside regularly.
Avoiding physical activity outdoors during poor-quality days is one way we can reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases from inhaling toxins found in the air we breathe.
Climate Change And Air Quality Are Inextricably Linked
We know climate change will affect air quality in many ways. For example, hotter temperatures and extreme precipitation events mean certain pollutants will stay in the air longer. If we want to reduce global warming but also keep our air clean, we need to act on several fronts.
We must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. This means increasing energy efficiency. Making use of renewable energy sources like solar and wind (which produce no greenhouse gas emissions).
And reducing our use of fossil fuels for transportation. We can do this by transitioning away from gasoline-powered cars toward electric vehicles powered by clean electricity.
Start limiting emissions from industry and agriculture. While it may be impossible to eliminate all industrial pollution there are still opportunities for improvement.
Also, we need better monitoring of air quality so that people know when they should avoid strenuous outdoor activity. Or when to take other precautions based on local conditions or health concerns. Especially vulnerable groups such as children and seniors who are more likely to suffer negative effects.
Air pollution is a major health risk that kills millions of people each year worldwide. It can cause asthma attacks, heart disease and lung cancer. And it disproportionately affects people with lower incomes and those who are already ill.
Our air quality affects us more than we realise, and we can take steps to keep ourselves safe from poor air quality.
As the weather gets warmer and more humid, air quality can be a major concern for many people. In fact, air pollution is now considered to be the world’s largest single environmental health risk.
The effects of air pollution are far-reaching. It affects all aspects of life from food and water to the health and well-being of people and animals. For example, air pollution can cause damage to your lungs and cardiovascular system.
In addition to indoor sources like tobacco smoke, cooking fumes, mould or dust mites, many outdoor sources of air pollution affect our daily lives. These include vehicles, power plants, factories and refineries that burn fossil fuels.
Air quality is often measured by the concentration of pollutants in the air (e.g., ozone). The Air Quality Index (AQI) provides a general sense of what conditions might be like outside based on five major pollutants. These are ground-level ozone; particles in the air we breathe; carbon monoxide; nitrogen dioxide; sulphur dioxide.
The AQI is calculated for each pollutant separately so that a single number can be used for each pollutant instead of having separate numbers for each one. The higher the number on the AQI scale, the greater the health concern.
The most important thing in your lungs is the air you breathe. We all want to live somewhere with clean air. But air pollution can disrupt normal breathing.
No matter where you live, the air quality can change. Guidelines on how to cope with allergic problems, asthma, and other issues don’t seem to help as much as they should. So it’s up to you to do everything possible to make sure that you have clean air.
Dangerous levels of air quality may not be always easy to recognise. However, there are key signs that you can look out for that can warn you of any potential air pollution in your area. The easiest thing to do is stay aware of the situation around you and take action if necessary.
Ultimately air quality can be affected by literally thousands of factors. It’s important to stay informed and ask questions if you’re not sure what’s in the air around you. Your lungs may need it.