What Makes Air Pollution so Severe in the Summertime?
“Summertime, summertime, sum, sum summertime” – family vacations, shorts, flip flops, picnics in the park, sprinklers, boat rides, swimming, … and air pollution. Yes, air pollution. Air pollution kicks into high gear in the summertime.
What makes air pollution so severe in the summertime?
Air pollution is a seasonal thing. Some air pollutants are worse in the summer. Some are worse in the winter. It is worse in the summer because of photochemical oxidants – ozone gas, ultraviolet radiation and sunlight.
- Ozone is a very reactive, invisible, very powerful and potent gas, and it’s a respiratory irritant.
- Ultraviolet (UV) radiation drives the chemical reactions that produce ozone.
- Sunlight cooks everything and forms new compounds that weren’t there before.
Longer days, more sunlight, more ultraviolet radiation and more stability in the atmosphere means stagnant air. Stagnant means the air doesn’t move. It just sits and cooks. Combine this with the emissions that come from power plants and boilers, and/or cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships and you’ve got a mix of nasty air pollution. The quality of your respiratory health is linked to air pollution, and exposure to air pollution causes unpleasant health risks.
How does it affect people?
Your respiratory health is important, and air pollution can affect a wide range of respiratory conditions; cardiovascular problems, asthma, low birth weight and birth defects, autism, and more.
- Air pollution causes inflammation which can lead to disruptions or changes in cell function creating a negative response in the body.
- If you have cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis, your heart has to work harder to get oxygen to your tissues.
- It triggers asthmatic attacks.
- It is associated with low birth weight and birth defects; recently it has been suggested that there are links between air pollution and an increase in autism.
Are some more susceptible to respiratory troubles than others?
Some have certain types of genes that help their body process or not process certain chemicals better than others.
- Because children are still developing, they can be very sensitive to air pollution.
- People with pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular problems are sensitive.
- Pregnant mothers are a susceptible group.
- Even athletes are sensitive.
- The elderly are also susceptible because of compromised systems.
How can people limit their exposure?
They can live farther away from busy roadways. Busy roadways and traffic seem to make respiratory health worse or develop respiratory troubles in otherwise healthy individuals.
The air is cleaner now, more than it ever has been, and getting cleaner. We’ve made a lot of progress in terms of controls and cleaner fuels and cars. But there’s always room for improvement and lots of it!
And that’s outside in the “fresh” summer air, folks! Read a previous blog post entitled The Best Ways to Keep Seasonal Allergies at Bay and find out how to make your home a safe haven of quality air all year.
We can help you take care of your respiratory health inside your home and make your home a safe haven from air pollution. Call Blue Frost Heating & Cooling at (630) 444-0860 today to start breathing easy.
Blue Frost Heating & Cooling – changing lives and improving inside air quality in the Chicago area for 25 years.
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