How polluted air affects your health.
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The advent of industrialization has brought with it a very serious problem which affects all human beings – air pollution. This problem is a great concern in many (if not all) countries all over the world. Many highly industrialized towns and cities have very high air pollution indices.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines air pollution as “a mixture of solid particles and gases in the air”. Emissions from vehicles, chemical substances emitted by factories, dust, pollen and mold spores may be present in the air, suspended as particles. On the other hand, ozone, which is a gas, is a key source of air pollution in many cities. The term smog refers to the air pollution formed by ozone.
It has been a well-known fact that air pollution is bad for one’s health. A number of pollutants in the air are toxic. When you inhale these pollutants, your risk of developing health problems is increased.
But what health risks are you really facing when you are exposed to air pollution? According to the American Academy of Family Physician, air pollution may:
- Irritate your eyes, throat and lungs;
- Cause tightness in your chest, coughing or wheezing;
- Cause bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchus), particularly in children;
- Aggravate symptoms of existing heart disease or lung disease; and
- Aggravate breathing problems during exercise
Considering the above health effects of air pollution, it is best to avoid exposing yourself to this health threat, especially if you have an underlying heart or respiratory problem. However, it is usually impossible to do so especially if you live in highly industrialized cities. Your best option then is to wear a face mask or cover your nose to lessen the amount of polluted air you breathe in.
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