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Air Pollution Can Make You Sick

Tiny specks of air pollution can cause big health problems. Air quality in the U.S. is gradually improving, but, according to the American Lung Association, “particles you breathe in can increase blood pressure, inflame arteries, and speed up heart rate.”

Air pollution can make you sick without you even realizing what's causing you to feel bad.

A 2012 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that breathing outdoors on one moderately polluted day led to a 30 percent spike in strokes 12 to 14 hours later. Other studies also show more ER and hospital admissions for heart attacks on polluted days.

Air pollution is especially problematic for children; people 65 and older; and people with asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Outdoor Air Pollution

Medical researchers are highly concerned about ozone (a potentially hazardous gas) and fine-particle pollution—from car and truck exhaust, factories, power plants, and wildfires. Those particles, smaller in diameter than a human hair, can lodge deep in your lungs or enter your bloodstream. What to do:

  • Check your local pollution levels at airnow.gov. If you’re at higher risk, try to stay in air-conditioned areas when the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index is 101 or higher.
  • During higher-pollution periods, exercise and work outdoors early in the morning, when pollution levels are usually lower.
  • High-traffic areas are more polluted; avoid them when on foot or bicycling.
  • Don’t burn trash or wood outside or leave your car idling. On high-pollution days, don’t run fuel-burning power equipment.
  • Don’t assume face masks are going to solve the problem. N-95 masks may provide some benefit, but most commercially available air masks are not designed to protect against all forms of air pollution, like smog.

Indoor Air Pollution

The major indoor pollutants include cigarette smoke, fireplace and wood-stove smoke, kitchen-range fumes, mold and mildew, air-freshener ingredients, animal dander, and dust. Those are especially worrisome for people with allergies or asthma. They can also irritate the eyes, nose, and throat or cause headaches in anyone. To breathe easier when indoor air pollution can be a factor:

  • Ban smoking in your home and car.
  • Vacuum to reduce dust and dander.
  • Run air conditioners or dehumidifiers to help thwart mold and mildew.
  • Use exhaust fans in your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry area.
  • Use a vented range hood to extract smoke and kitchen odors.
  • Replace older wood stoves; newer models emit less smoke. A lower number on the EPA’s certification label means it burns more cleanly.
  • Burn only untreated, fully dried wood in your fireplace, and don’t light it around anyone with a heart or lung condition.
  • Nix air fresheners. They can contain volatile organic compounds and phthalates that can cause headaches and eye, nose, and throat irritation, and worsen asthma symptoms.

Brown & Reaves Services is trained and equipped to inspect your home’s ventilation and air intake sources. The best possible level of ventilation must be established for your home in order to optimize air quality and overcome indoor air pollution.

We’ll evaluate your home and make recommendations to modify your existing system, if necessary, to achieve optimal air flow. We’ll also check possible air pollutants within your home, such as your heating system or stoves, and make adjustment so they’re operating at a safe level. We can recommend and install an air filtration system in  your home to eliminate pollutants and allergens, making sure your Myrtle Beach indoor air quality is the best it can possibly be.

Call Brown & Reaves Services today for a thorough analysis of your home to determine if you are suffering from indoor air pollution problems you may not even be aware of.  843-497-9867.  Or fill out our short form and one of our trained technicians will get back to you shortly.

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