We have all heard that air pollution can be damaging to our health. Well, a new study has shed light that air pollution can be more damaging than we have previously thought. It turns out that even a small amount or dose of air pollution can cause health problems. This new study out of Utah also found that air pollution can be especially damaging to very young children.
So why is air pollution so dangerous to young kids? Airway and lung infections are a major killer of young children. Viruses often cause these infections. Here is where air pollution comes in. The air pollution makes adults and especially kids much more susceptible to infections of the lungs and airways. Thus, air pollution can be deadly to the very young who are not yet fully developed physically.
This latest study of air pollution was published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The study had analyzed information from almost 150,000 different people. Most of the people studied were kids who were under the age of two. These patients were also people who had been seen in a hospital for an infection.
In addition to monitoring people, mostly children under the age of two, the study also monitored air pollution. It specifically looked at the level of particulate matter in the air known as PM2.5. Data on the levels of particulate matter was collected from three stations in Utah. It was established that particulate matter levels in the air fluctuated substantially and constantly.
One of the major correlations found between PM2.5 levels and hospitalizations was the following. As particulate level concentration increased, the number of respiratory infections rose substantially. The peak period of respiratory infections occurred three weeks after PM2.5 levels had risen.
After looking at all the data, the researchers managed to approximate that each ten microgram increase in particulate matter in the air meant that there would be an increase of about 20% in the number of respiratory infections. So what can you do if you live in an area that has significant or rising air pollution? Here are some tips. Try to stay away from highways and idle cars. Stay indoors when air pollution is especially high and try to go out in the early morning when the level of air pollution is at its lowest. Of course, getting fresh air in a park is also a good idea.