According to research, more than 137 million Americans live in areas with air pollution. People who reside in communities prone to bushfires, forest fires, and wildfires experience unhealthier levels of particle pollution.
Air pollution occurs when harmful substances — carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide — affect the indoor and outdoor air that we breathe.
In and of itself, air pollution is harmful to individuals without any lung conditions. However, it can be particularly dangerous, even deadly, for people living with pulmonary and respiratory problems.
How exactly does air quality affect lung health? And what can we do to reduce the risks of air pollution? Let’s explore!
Does Air Quality Impact Lung Health?
Research suggests that exposure to poor air quality contributes to the development of certain lung conditions. This is because breathing in air pollutants can irritate and block your airways, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
When you breathe in polluted air, particles that enter your respiratory tract can induce inflammation. Inflamed airways increase your system’s ability to respond to irritants like allergens, cold air, and gaseous or particle pollutants.
It must be noted that the effect of air pollution on your lungs will depend on the type and mix of pollutants you inhale. Also, higher concentrations and amounts of particles getting into your lungs can lead to worse side effects.
Essentially, the inflammation can damage or kill healthy cells, compromising the ability of your pulmonary and respiratory systems to work well. Also, it can reduce lung function by constricting the airways and tightening the surrounding smooth muscle — which leads to coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Worse, repeated exposure to particle pollution can aggravate the initial inflammation and lead to chronic injury to your lungs. Plus, it can affect the stability or progression of existing lung conditions.
In fact, air pollution can cause or exacerbate:
- Bronchial hyperreactivity.
- Chest pains.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Decreased or loss of pulmonary functions.
- Heart attack.
- Inflammation of the airways and lungs.
- Lung cancer.
- Pulmonary diseases (leading to morbidity and mortality).
- Respiratory symptoms (coughing, wheezing, and development of phlegm).
- Shortness of breath.
- Premature death (in long-term exposure or extreme cases).
Any person who lives where air pollution is present is at risk of lung-related health conditions. However, some people face higher risks than others. These include:
- Current or former smokers.
- Elderly people.
- Infants and children.
- Individuals with low socio-economic status.
- People with cardiovascular conditions.
- People with existing heart or lung conditions.
- People who work or spend significant time outdoors.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Air Pollution?
Even if the respiratory system is resilient against air pollution, frequent exposure to high-level particle pollution will lead to reduced lung health, even in healthy people. As such, if you can’t completely avoid air pollution, it’s helpful to take simple steps to limit exposure and reduce the severity of adverse health effects.
Be Conscious of the Air Quality Around You
Just because you can’t hear or see air pollution doesn’t mean it’s not there. That’s why it’s helpful to check the air quality in your area.
AirNow provides information on the air quality in your local area, state, or at a national level, so you’ll know whether or not it’s healthy for you. It also offers recommendations on what you can do depending on the air quality — from enjoying the outdoors or limiting your time and activities outside, to staying indoors to minimize risks.
Monitoring the air around you is going to be especially important if you live in or near an area prone to wildfires.
Clean Your Home Regularly
Your home contains countless germs — from carpets, floors, and high-touch areas to the bathroom, kitchen, and common areas. Plus, your pets might require extra cleaning from you.
Swap out kitchen towels weekly (or immediately, if handling raw meat). Disinfect your bath and shower every two weeks. Vacuum floors and carpets once a week, perhaps more often if you have pets. Wipe down knobs and handles at the end of every day.
Essentially, cleaning your home frequently and thoroughly can help limit the growth and transfer of germs indoors. Just be sure to avoid household cleaners that are toxic. They might be doing more harm than good.
Invest in a High-Quality Air Purifier
Breathing cleaner air starts in your own home. And getting an air purifier is one of the best ways to stay protected.
Be sure to choose an air purification system that captures airborne pathogens, bacteria, common allergens, harmful chemicals, mold spores, odors, smoke, viruses, and other volatile organic compounds and product fumes.
Opt for a purifier that uses medical-grade HEPA 13 filters and offers four layers of protection, like Sans, to get the ultimate protection.
How Sans Air Purifiers Can Help
Sans purifiers have a three-stage air filtration process and UV-C light sterilization to ensure optimal purifying for your indoor air.
The pre-filter traps larger dust, particulate matter, and pollutants. The medical-grade HEPA-13 filter then captures almost-invisible allergens, microparticles, and smaller pathogens. Next, the activated carbon filter neutralizes harmful chemicals and volatile gases emitted by your home products. Finally, the UV light sterilizes everything that’s been trapped to ensure it won’t grow on the other filters and come back to make you sick.
Ultimately, our four-step process helps ensure that you and your loved ones breathe in clean, pure air. Combined with the precautions and lifestyle adjustments we described above, you’re on your way to safer, healthier air.
Ready to improve your air quality and keep your lungs healthy? Shop with Sans today and feel the difference.