What are the health effects of periods of poor air quality?
· Inflammation in the airways
· Increased symptoms (including hospitalization) in individuals who have a lung disease such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis or asthma
· Possible cause for the development of lung diseases
· Air pollution can also limit the growth of children's lungs, although that may be an effect of more continuous exposure rather than short periods of more severe pollution.
· Associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some of the strongest data supporting this comes from studies done along the Wasatch front.
Quality of Life
· According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than 2 million people die prematurely each year due to the effects of poor air quality.
· Even in "clean" areas, life expectancies are shortened by 8.6 months on average due to pollution from human activities.
How should individuals respond to air quality alerts in order to protect their health?
· Individuals with lung diseases (asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD) or with heart disease should avoid outdoor exercise and, in fact, should limit time spent outdoors.
· Because it is thought that children's lungs are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution, many schools now limit outdoor play when air quality is poor.
What can individuals do to help air quality in general, and especially during inversions?
· Limit driving; car pool or take public transport.
· NO IDLING.
· Be sure your vehicle is well-tuned.
· Avoid use of 2-stroke engines (snow blowers, lawn mowers)
· No wood burning
For more information, please visit: http://healthcare.utah.edu/pulmonaryservices/