This informative article is made possible in cooperation with Blueair for Asthma & Allergy month. Opinions are my own.
Did you know more than half of Americans (166 million) live where year-round air pollution is too dangerous to breathe? If you’ve never thought about how air quality affects health, you are not alone.
Many people are living with toxic air without even realizing the impact it can have on their health, especially during asthma and allergy season!
In A Hurry? Check out this great Air Purifier!
How Air Quality Affects Health
“Air pollution can harm us when it accumulates in high enough concentrations. Millions of Americans live in areas where urban smog, particle pollution, and toxic pollutants pose serious health concerns. People exposed to high enough levels of certain air pollutants may experience:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathing difficulties
- Worsening of existing lung and heart problems, such as asthma
- Increased risk of heart attack
In addition, long-term exposure to air pollution can cause cancer and damage to the immune, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems. In extreme cases, it can even cause death.” –Massachusets Department of Environmental Protection
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that current data suggests that air pollution can cause asthma. Climate change increases water and air pollution which can cause and aggravate chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma. [iv]
Between 1995 and 2011, warmer temperatures have caused the US pollen season to increase around the country to be 11 to 27 days longer due in part to warmer temperatures from climate change. Flowers bloom earlier and increase the amount of carbon dioxide emitted and the increase in temperature can cause an increase in the concentration of pollen in the air, the strength of airborne allergens, and an increase in allergy symptoms. Exposure to stronger amounts of pollen and mold may also make people that do not currently have allergies develop allergic symptoms. [vii] [viii]
Indoor Air Pollution
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, air quality inside the home is often two to five times worse than it is outdoors. After certain activities, like painting or floor removal, it can be up to 1,000 times worse than the air outside. This is due to off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in paint, adhesives and many everyday objects in the home.
Exposure to poor indoor air quality can cause short-term eye, nose and throat irritation as well as headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. It can also exacerbate the effects of asthma, particularly in children. Over time, this exposure can lead to respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease or even cancer.
What Can You Do?
People that live with asthma and allergies can do a few things to reduce risks and the impacts of climate change. The EPA suggests that to reduce the health risks caused by climate change ask your doctor for advice on how to avoid places or situations that can cause an asthma attack or an allergic reaction.
Also, before leaving your home, check the Air Quality Index (AQI), which shows how polluted the air is in your area and avoid/limit outdoor activities on the days where the AQI is high. To check the AQI in your area you can use the free Air View service.
The Air View service lets you see which particles and gasses exist in the air, providing a 360º street view of any address — you can essentially check the air quality right outside your doorstep!
You can then click on various pollutants that are registering in your area and learn more about them and how they affect your health.
Use An Indoor Monitor
The Blueair Aware Indoor Indoor Air Quality Monitor checks your environment for carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature, total VOC’s (including benzene and formaldehyde), and airborne particles such as dust, organic compounds, metals, mold, smoke, and pollen.
The Blueair Aware works seamlessly with your smartphone and the Blue Friend App. Air quality data is collected in real-time, sending updates every 5 minutes via Wi-Fi.
Use An Air Purifier
Since learning about how air quality affects health, and that indoor air quality can be worse than outdoors, I’ve been taking steps to improve the air quality in my home. The easiest thing you can do is invest in a good purifier.
We’ve recently tried the new Blueair Air Purifier, which not only purifies the air but connects to our wifi via the Blueair Aware app and allows us to see the air quality in our home at any given time.
We’ve been using this air purifier for a few weeks and I have found there to be a noticeable difference in the air quality. I don’t even have to check the app to realize that my nose isn’t running as much due to allergies, and I can simply breathe easier.
With a sleek design, Wi-Fi and filter indicators, and a low noise level, I’d recommend this purifier to anyone who wants to improve the air quality in their home.
This article on how air quality affects health is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease and is for informational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor for any medical concerns.