Asthma and Pollution

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Asthma

Anyone who has breathing difficulties knows just how much it can seriously affect quality of life. Unfortunately, as pollution levels rise, so, too, does the rate of asthma. Recent data from the Center for Disease Control reveals hard truths. In the U.S., for example, 1 in 12 adults have asthma and 9 die from it every day.  Of course, pollution’s not the only culprit. Asthma has many causes, after all, and while there may not be a cure, the disease is certainly manageable.

Asthma is a challenging issue to address, because there are a number of underlying factors that contribute to the disease. As you may know, addressing the underlying cause is the best way to approach any type of health condition. In order to understand the full spectrum of factors associated with asthma, here’s 5 things you should keep in mind.

1. Energy Efficiency is Partly to Blame

Despite more and more homes being made energy efficient, asthma rates continue to rise. A study out of the UK suggests these efficient homes ventilate less, leading to a damper environment conducive for mold.  Not only that, poor ventilation could lead to exposure to other asthma-triggering contaminants, and high humidity could invite household dust mites and other nasties.

2. A Little Dirt Can Be a Good Thing

Sometimes we can be a little too clean, and that could be hurting our children. Many studies suggest over protecting a child from germs can lead to a greater risk for developing asthma, allergies, and other autoimmune diseases during adulthood. For example, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes are two things we tend to overuse on our kids (and ourselves). Often, plain old soap and water is the best way to go. The latest study even suggests exposing newborns to certain bacteria during the first two weeks of life can help protect them against asthma.

3. Giving Antibiotics to Infants Can Make Them More Prone to Asthma

While avoiding antibacterial products could be beneficial to your child’s health, it might pay to avoid heavy antibiotic use. The premise is the same here: overuse leads to bacterial resistance, and this, in turn, could increase a child’s risk for asthma. According to a large study, infants who take antibiotics are twice as likely than their counterparts to develop wheezing.

4. Convenient, Spray-On Sunscreen Can Cause an Attack

While those spray-on sunscreens may be super convenient, the FDA is currently studying whether or not these aerosols are dangerous to kids who have breathing difficulties. The worry is that spraying these on or near the faces of these kids could trigger attacks. In the meantime, Consumer Reports reminds us to look into other options.  With UV radiation always a concern, maybe this could be a great time to look into a new, non-aerosol sunscreen.

5. Where Asthma Is, Allergies Are Found

An astonishing 90 percent of US kids with asthma also have allergies, suggesting a link between the two. In the case of some of these kids, especially those with poorly controlled or undiagnosed asthma, these allergies can cause reactions that are tough to handle. Take the case of the US toddler who went into anaphylactic shock after eating an orange. Oddly enough, she had orange juice before without a problem, but she also turned out to have undiagnosed asthma. In the toddler’s case, and others like hers, one thought is that it might not be the fruit causing the allergic reaction, but the pesticides on the fruit.  Asthma is a very real concern worldwide, but many people assume it’s only a problem in the city; however, recent reports suggest it’s much more widespread. The disease has slowly moved into rural communities and suburbs, and it’s not going away.

8 Crazy Facts About Air Pollution

Air pollution has many sources — cigarette smoke, automobiles, and industrial chemicals are only a few things that pollute the air we breathe. Let’s look at 8 crazy facts about air pollution you probably haven’t heard about.

1. BPA is Polluting the Air

It’s not just “standard” pollutants that are an issue. BPA (Bisphenol-A) is also invading our air and it’s not going away.  In 2013, for example, industrial plants in Deer Park, Texas, emitted over 4,100 pounds of the endocrine disruptor.  As more and more chemical companies use BPA to make plastic stronger, the toxin is constantly released into the environment. Some think the lungs and skin also absorb BPA, which is a serious issue because the body does not metabolize the compound.

2. Air Pollution is a Deadly Health Crisis in the UK

The Environmental Audit Committee of UK’s Parliament recently argued that air pollution brings almost the same death toll as smoking. The committee even wants to phase out diesel cars because they’re the biggest part of the problem. Just how much pollution are we talking about? Around 46% of carbon monoxide, 42% nitrogen oxides, and 26% particulate matter all comes courtesy of these engines.  As pollution becomes an extreme health crisis in the UK, it makes you wonder if it’s reached that level in America. Have we just not acknowledged it?

3. The Air in Your Own Home is Likely the Worst

It’s not only the air outside; household air is often terrible. The World Health Organization even weighed in and released a report that highlighted the dangers of burning fuels like coal or kerosene.While this is a bigger issue in low- and middle-income countries, gas or kerosene space heaters–something many Americans use–can also be part of the problem.  While airtight spaces only contribute to the problem, recent evidence suggests they not only affect your physical health, but also your mental state.  Workers in windowless rooms had poorer sleep habits and lower overall qualities of life than their counterparts.

4. Air Pollution Makes You Look Old

Procter & Gamble recently released a report that polluted air can contain over 200 chemicals that age the skin. This becomes a big issue in larger cities with more pollutants; in fact, in a study of over 200 urban and rural women aged 30 to 45, pollution from city life added as much as 10 percent to perceived aging.

5. Air Pollution is Linked to Attention Problems

As more and more children are diagnosed with attention disorders, air pollution could be a factor. One study suggests that it is the mother’s exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—emitted by burning fossil fuels—that is the main issue; however, new evidence takes that idea even further. A new study looks at how unborn children exposed to high levels of pollutants in car exhaust are five times more likely to develop an attention disorder by age 9.  Air pollution can leave its mark; kids with ADHD, for example, have a higher risk for poor academic performance, risky behaviors, and there’s even the possibility of decreased earnings in adulthood. There is even some evidence linking indoor air pollution with autism.

6. The Air at the Gym is Horrible

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the gym has some pretty bad air quality. Could that smell, which you might’ve always associated with smelly gym socks, actually be an indicator of air quality? A research team in Portugal set out to answer that question by measuring the air quality of 11 gyms and found high levels of airborne dust, formaldehyde, and carbon dioxide.

7. Air Pollution is Affecting the Sistine Chapel

Nearly 6 million people visit the Sistine chapel every year and in 2010, it was discovered that increased levels of carbon dioxide from the breath of visitors was causing the frescoes to whiten.  A build up of powder made up of calcium carbonate and calcium bicarbonate was removed before any lasting damage could be done, but this byproduct sort of makes you think twice about increased levels of carbon dioxide.

8. Burning Money Causes Air Pollution

It’s no surprise that burning trash is a massive source of air pollution; in fact, a study estimates that more than 40 percent of the world’s garbage is burned, releasing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, mercury, particulate matter, and other toxins into the air. Who would have guessed, though, that burning money also contributes to this pollution? A study in Taiwan found that ritual burning of paper money (at temples and festivals) added nearly double the number of toxins to the air.

One Final Thought

As you might’ve already guessed, pollution is a huge problem. At times, it might feel like too big for you to control, but trust me, nothing you do to help is too small. Always invest in an air filter for your home, and if possible for your place of business.

Source – Global Healing Centre

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