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"It makes me sick to breathe": health and air pollution

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Know how air quality affects your health and some steps you can take to deal with these effects

"It makes me sick to breathe": health and air pollution

Modern lifestyles make health more and more affected: few hours of sleep, poor diet, alcohol, cigarette, lack of exercise and some excesses. More and more diseases appear without apparent explanation and the figures for diseases such as cancer and diseases such as cerebrovascular accidents and neuropathies increase. Some people have tried to take a healthier lifestyle as an option. But what to do when the biggest problem is in the same air we breathe?

Leer en español: “Me enferma respirar”: salud y contaminación del aire

Air pollution is one of the main problems facing countries today. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 90% of the population breathes contaminated air. In fact, according to this same source, exposure to fine particles takes seven million lives each year. Those particles enter the lungs and cause severe damage to the cardiovascular system. This generates serious consequences to health and can result in death.

In fact, the problems derived from air pollution are not only from the lungs and the heart. Air pollution generates from problems in the eyes and skin to behavior problems. According to the Psychiatric Association of Latin America, unhealthy environments in terms of their air upset the daily life of people in terms of their quality of life. Due to poor air quality can be affected in the appetite, in sleep and even generate anxiety, depression and irritability problems.

As you can see, air pollution poses a very high environmental risk to health. In addition to outdoor air pollution, air pollution problems are also present indoors. This usually occurs in households where cooking with charcoal or with biomass fuel (wood burning, agricultural residues or animal excrement). This form of cooking produces emissions of elements harmful to health, including methane, and soot, which are not only harmful to human health but also to the 'health' of the planet.

You may be interested in reading: COP24: will there be any solutions for climate change?

What to breathe then?

The issue of environmental pollution is complex to manage since it depends on multiple actors and the commitment of all of them. Each person can make the decision to take small measures that contribute to the improvement of air quality; however, only a joint effort will allow seeing tangible results. Meanwhile, what should be done in terms of health is to take at least some care to mitigate the impact of air quality on health.

First of all, exposure to highly contaminated areas, especially to exercise, should be avoided as much as possible. And in case you can not avoid this type of places, it is important to use face masks or anti-pollution masks if necessary. Some experts also recommend visiting at least once a week somewhere with fresh air such as forests or nature reserves. Finally, as an extra recommendation, it is important to maintain good nutrition and good sleep habits. This makes the body have better defenses and can be stronger to withstand the damage caused by air quality.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Natalí Ramírez-Giraldo

Translated from "Me enferma respirar”: salud y contaminación del aire"

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