Did you know that air quality can have a significant impact on the health of your lungs? This applies to everyone, but especially those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Because of this, it is important to understand how air quality affects lung health.
So, what exactly do we mean by “air quality”?
Air quality is exactly what it sounds like. It is the quality of the air you inhale and exhale on a daily basis. Floating around in each breath you take are millions of microscopic particles that could be triggering your asthma. The more of those pollutants you ingest, the greater is the likelihood that they will trigger an asthmatic episode. More often than not, for asthmatics, it’s not man-made pollution that’s their primary trigger, but rather, natural causes.
How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Lungs?
Air quality often fluctuates with the seasons. On the West Coast, Wildfire Season can trigger asthma attacks and in the Midwest, ragweed and other pollens can affect those with respiratory conditions.
Over time, various environmental pollutants can irritate your lungs and cause a number of issues, including lung cancer, allergies, and asthma triggers. It is especially important that asthma sufferers understand and track what triggers their asthma to avoid any deadly attacks.
You cannot control the quality of the air outside. However, you can control the quality of the air within your home. You can do this by keeping your vents cleaned and your house dusted. You should also vacuum your carpets, change your air filters, and dry your bathrooms.
What is the Quality of Air in the United States?
Air quality varies significantly based on the region, climate, environmental hazards, etc. However, compared to the rest of the world, the United States possesses fairly clean air. The U.S. falls behind several European countries but ahead of most others.
One of the primary reasons America has relatively clean air is because of the Clean Air Act of 1970. This act cracked down on the release of pollutants after it was realized that they were causing lung inflammation.
According to the EPA, there has been a dramatic reduction in man-made pollutants since the Clean Air Act went into effect. However, this does not account for other triggers.
What Does This Mean?
If you are living in the United States, then you can feel good about the fact that you are breathing some of the cleanest air in the industrialized world. However, that does not mean that the air is pollution-free. Man-made and natural pollutants are still present and able to trigger your asthma.
You have control over your indoor air quality and you can avoid your known triggers when going outdoors.
How Else Can You Help Your Lung Health?
If you suffer from asthma, it is helpful and recommended by doctors to track your triggers and symptoms using portable spirometry equipment like Aluna. You can have an asthma action plan with actual meaningful data.
Common Questions About Air Quality & Asthma
1. What air quality is bad for asthma?
Asthmatics should be aware of the ozone levels in their area. Daily updates on these levels can be found during weather reports on the news or online at places like airnow.gov. If the air quality is above 51, asthmatics need to be cautious about how much time they spend outside.
2. How does air quality affect asthma?
Pollutants in the air can be responsible for worsened asthma symptoms. Small particles that are inhaled will get into the lungs and trigger increased mucus growth and decreased air capacity.
3. Is a fan bad for asthma?
Yes. Using an electric fan will circulate dust and pollen, creating a room filled with allergens. These allergens will be breathed into the lungs and cause respiratory inflammation and asthma symptoms.
4. Can asthma be caused by pollution?
Pollution is one primary cause of asthma symptoms. The small particles found in air pollution trigger the lungs and airways to decrease air capacity and increase mucus production. This process causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
5. How do people live with bad air quality?
Sometimes bad air cannot be totally avoided. Fortunately, there are ways to live with and help reduce bad air quality in your home and community.
- Watch the daily pollution forecast for your area so you know how to spend the day
- Avoid outdoor exercise when the pollution levels are high
- Make your home more energy efficient
- Walk, bike, or carpool as often as you can
- Ban smoking from your home and yard