Adults

Adults who are already ailing can sometimes suffer serious problems if they are exposed to pollutants in air. Here is how various air pollutants can affect them:

Particulate matter: The level of particulate matter in the air is a measure of how polluted the air is. Exposure to high levels of particulate matter can be very harmful and can lead to diseases like bronchitis, asthma and other lung diseases.

Large Pollutants: These are the ones that must surely be avoided by ailing adults in order to recover fast and live a healthy life. The following pollutants tend to be problematic for ailing adults:

  • Sulphur dioxide: This substance has an odour that is unpleasant and can be detected at a concentration of more than 1ppm (parts per million. Sulphur dioxide causes irritation in the respiratory passages and can also cause shortness of breath and chronic lung disease.
  • Oxides of Nitrogen: The three oxides of Nitrogen are considered to be major pollutants; nitrous oxide (dinitrogen oxide, N20), nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Exposure to high levels of Nitrous oxide for instance can lead to liver disease, kidney problems and nervous system disorders.
  • Oxides of Carbon: Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are major pollutants. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. The other harmful gas Carbon monoxide is produced by the atmospheric oxidation of hydrocarbons and is also generated biologically both on land and sea.
  • Compounds of Lead: Ninety per cent of the lead present in the atmosphere is due to human activities. Lead is a major pollutant; high levels of lead in the air we breathe are known to cause serious health hazards.

 

Elderly

Air pollution is really harmful for the elderly, who because of their weakened immunity and mature organ systems are especially vulnerable to its harmful effects. Here is how air pollution can harm them:

Respiratory Problems:  High levels of pollutants in the air are responsible for respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. Lung volumes in the elderly are especially affected and this can lead to a worsening of symptoms.

Immune System: The immune system of the elderly is already weak; with exposure to dangerous pollutants it can weaken further and make them vulnerable to various diseases. What the elderly need is healthy food and a dose of fresh air.

Disease Trigger: Air pollution can also trigger diseases or a worsening of symptoms. Pollutants in the air can sometimes trigger asthma attacks or obstructive airway disease.

Fresh Air Brings Longevity: Yes it is true. As fresh air is good for the lungs and body, it brings energy and thus helps in better functioning of the body. According to a study, fresh air intake for three months can improve life expectancy by 1 to 2 years.