Pollution and its Long-Term Effect on the Body

Pollution from the environment may be making you sick! Air pollution is difficult to escape. Most air pollution is caused by people – in the form of cars, planes, wildfires, cigarette smoke, or even using a wood stove to cook.

Air pollution is a mixture of natural and artificial sources in the air we breathe. Outdoor air pollution includes tobacco smoke and gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Indoor air pollution can include tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide as well, but also include chemicals from household cleaning products and asbestos.

High levels of air pollution can cause added stress to the heart and lungs and can damage cells in the respiratory system. The impact of how bad you can be affected by air pollution depends heavily on your current health status, the pollutant type, and how long you are exposed to air pollution.

Those who are more vulnerable to severe health problems as a result of air pollution are individuals who have heart disease, individuals who work outside, athletes who exercise outside, and pregnant women. Short-term effects of air pollution include temporary illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis.  People who develop these illnesses often have headaches, illnesses, and irritation to the nose, eyes, skin, or throat.

Long-term effects of air pollution can last for years or even for an entire lifetime. Long term effects of air pollution can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and diseases that directly affect the respiratory system, such as emphysema.

Indoor air pollution can be lessened by making sure that a building is cleaned on a regular basis and well ventilated, in order to prevent harmful agents such as dust and mold from spreading. Try to reduce outdoor air pollution by taking public transportation or riding a bike instead of driving a car, avoiding heavy traffic if possible, avoiding secondhand smoke from cigarettes, or even cutting down if you are someone who does smoke cigarettes. If you feel that you are experiencing serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade

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