The Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution on Your Lungs
Air pollution can be dangerous for people living with respiratory ailments, so it’s vital to understand how to protect yourself.
Despite progress in recent years, air pollution continues to be a serious environmental issue. Pollutants are harmful to everyone, but those suffering from lung diseases can experience particularly destructive effects.
Understanding how these pollutants work is the first step to protecting yourself against their harmful consequences. Keep reading to learn more.
Different Types of Air Pollution
There are many different types of air pollutants, but the following are the most common:
- Particle pollution
- Ground-level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
The Environmental Protection Agency has set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for these six air pollutants because they threaten human health, harm the environment, and cause property damage. Of these six toxins, the EPA declares ground-level ozone and particle pollution the most widespread health threats.
How Do Air Pollutants Affect Lung Function?
The EPA regulates pollutants and studies their effects on lung function. It can be difficult to differentiate their negative effects because they all work together to damage the lungs and cause other health issues. Here are some of the lung complications and conditions that are caused by the various pollutants:
- Inflammation of the linings of the lungs
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing and wheezing
- Asthma attacks
- Chest pain
Air pollution also puts you at risk for lung cancer, heart attacks, and stroke. The following groups are particularly at risk:
- Babies and children
- The elderly
- People who work or spend a lot of time outdoors
- People with heart or lung disease
How Do I Protect Myself from Air Pollution?
Since pollutants are everywhere, protecting yourself against them might feel like a lost cause. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe from unhealthy air, including:
- Check the Air Quality Index (AQI) daily to see the current air pollution levels in your area and stay inside if it’s at an unhealthy level
- Use central air in your home instead of opening windows and doors
- Change your air filters monthly
- Use an air purifier in your home
- Carpool whenever possible
- Lower your own emissions (turn off your car’s engine when stopped, lower your thermostat and water heater, etc.)
- Don’t smoke and avoid areas where people are smoking
- Avoid burning wood and trash
Choose O2 Assist for Your Oxygen Treatments
If you’re living with respiratory disease, air pollution can cause further complications that should be addressed by your healthcare provider. If they recommend using an oxygen concentrator for treatment, O2 Assist has you covered with an expansive selection of portable and home oxygen concentrators to meet your needs. We’re dedicated to your well-being every step of the way, and you can count on us to deliver customer support that goes above and beyond every single time.