HomeBlogAir pollution and health – how does the smog affect you?

Air pollution and health – how does the smog affect you?

Smog is a phenomenon of an anthropogenic source. However, some natural circumstances – for instance, weather conditions, latitude, or geographical location – may facilitate its formation.

Smog appears mainly in urban areas where the concentration of air pollution is much higher. High population density, transportation, the presence of polluting factories, and other industrial facilities – all of these factors make smog more likely to appear.

Even though in some parts of the world it has become an integral part of the urban countryside, it doesn’t mean we don’t have to worry about it. The air pollution effects on health can be devastating – particularly when it comes to long-term exposure. It can weaken your immune system and affect your body systems.

Can breathing with smog have a similar effect on your health as smoking a pack of cigarettes? In some cases, yes. Check what influence the particular smog components have on your body and how to recognize the symptoms of smog poisoning.

Who is the most affected by smog?

The level of influence of smog on your health and general well-being depends on various factors. Children and seniors are at the highest risk of being strongly affected by it. Some diseases can make the symptoms caused by exposure to smog much worse. The main one is asthma and other conditions of the respiratory system.

Smog is particularly dangerous for pregnant women. The polluting particles can have a negative influence on the development of the fetus and cause miscarriages. The scientific studies also found a link between exposure to air pollution and the risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

How does smog affect your respiratory system?

Some respiratory diseases, such as asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cancer (lung, larynx, throat), have a clear link to exposure to smog. Of course, they can also develop without it due to some genetic dispositions. Nevertheless, smog can worsen their symptoms or even initiate them. Its influence on the human body can be compared to passive smoking – the implications of both are similar.

Is smog dangerous for other body systems, too?

Unfortunately, yes. When breathing with smog, you can inhale particulate matter. The diameter of the smallest particles is so small that they can get to your bloodstream through the lungs. This way, they’re transported to various organs. They can accumulate there, causing dysfunctions.

Smog affects particularly the circulatory system, lifting the blood pressure and interfering with the heart rate. These implications can elevate the risk of cardiac arrest and strokes.

How to recognize smog poisoning?

If the concentration of pollutants in the air is high enough, you may experience a whole range of symptoms. Their intensity and set can differ depending on your health, age, and other factors,

The first symptom of exposure to smog is usually a headache. How to differentiate it from the usual one? Well, the one caused by smog is quite resistant to medication and continuous. It may be followed by problems with concentration and chronic fatigue.

Another symptom hard to overlook is the cough. It appears because the pollutants irritate the respiratory system. It can come together with the other problems from the airway’s side – from hoarseness to sore throat and breathing difficulties.

In some cases, you may also experience irritation of the mucous membrane. Burning eyes and an itchy nose are common smog-related problems.

The long-term symptoms include a weakened immune system. As a result of long-term exposure to smog, your body may stop dealing with the infections as well as it used to. It also elevates the risk of cancer and respiratory diseases such as Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

How to protect yourself from the health effects of air pollution?

As you can see, the air pollution health effects can be severe. To protect yourself, you should monitor the air quality in your area daily with MyAirly Air Quality Map. This way, you can always adopt appropriate protective measures – like, for example, wearing the antismog mask.

Sources:

https://www.who.int/news/item/15-11-2019-what-are-health-consequences-of-air-pollution-on-populations

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4737505/

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/air-pollution-exposure-early-pregnancy-linked-miscarriage-nih-study-suggests

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