Humans quite literally live and breathe air. The quality of the air around us can play a critical role in our overall health and well-being. Breathing in fresh, clean air revitalizes the human body while breathing in polluted air can have extremely harmful effects and lead to skin and respiratory issues, among other damaging side effects.
With an increasing population, half of which doesn’t have access to clean cooking fuels or technologies comes more carbon emissions and dangerously polluted air in much of the world. So how exactly does air quality impact your body, and what can you do to protect yourself against the side effects?
What is pollution, and where does it come from?
The air in your natural surroundings hosts many harmful toxins, which is largely categorized as pollution. There is a range of potential air pollutants that can affect people both indoors and outdoors. Inside, pollutants come from toxic cooking stoves and gases, chemicals from cleaning supplies, mold, and tobacco smoke. Outside, air pollution comes in the form of smog and is a result of factories burning fossil fuels, carbon emissions from cars, and toxic substances such as pesticides.
Air quality impacts physical health.
Both short- and long-term exposure to polluted air can hurt your overall physical health. If you live in a place with high levels of air pollution, you may start to get headaches or notice a decrease in stamina when running, hiking, or exerting energy. Asthma, lung inflammation, and reduced lung capacity are among some of how air quality can impact your body. As a result, you may experience coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and reduced physical capability. Extended exposure to toxic air and the onset of physical symptoms can also impact your mental health.
Air quality affects the skin.
Air pollutants can damage your skin just like they damage your respiratory system. Ozone, oxides, and hydrocarbon are among the pollutants that poison your skin resulting in hives, eczema, wrinkles, age spots, and pigment spots. Air pollution is now considered to be a leading cause behind premature aging in polluted cities. Makes sure to cleanse your face regularly and use antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E in your skincare routine to help protect yourself against polluted air.
Air quality can lead to long-term health problems.
Poor air quality has a particularly detrimental effect on children. From asthma to other respiratory diseases, children worldwide suffer from illnesses as a result of air pollution. Childhood cancer and cognitive impairment, which are side effects of pregnant women exposed to toxic air, are also concerns.
More serious side effects from sustained exposure to poor air quality, such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and reduced cognitive function, are real possibilities for adults. Air pollution can also trigger strokes and heart attacks or result in other forms of heart disease.
How can you mitigate the effects of poor air quality?
Limiting your exposure to toxic air is important. Even if you live in a place with high pollution levels, make a habit of not walking during rush hour, not doing physical exercise in areas with the highest concentration of air pollution, and wearing a mask when in polluted areas to reduce inhalation of contaminants and toxic chemicals.
Even though the quality of some of the outside air we breathe is out of our control, there are some steps you can take to help lessen the impact and ensure you have optimal health. Owning a home air purifier is one of the simplest and most effective ways to purify the air throughout your entire house. A purifier eliminates hazardous pollutants in your home and gets of allergens such as dust, pollen, germs, and viruses.
Finally, understanding the importance of holistic health care is a vital step to mitigate the impact of toxic air. Holistic medicine departs from traditional western medicine and considers the entirety of the human body, including mind and spirit as well as the physical. By incorporating a healthy diet rich in nutrients, exploring alternative medicine options like acupuncture, and focusing on your physical and mental well-being, you can boost your overall health regardless of the air quality of your immediate surroundings.