Welcome back to our series about smoke and your health. Glad you were able to find your way back.. Let’s get started.
Last time we talked about VOCs- but if it’s not VOCs, who’s the big baddie of the smoke world then? Particulates. They’re tiny. Like tiny tiny. Here’s a handy graphic from the EPA that should give you some idea of how tiny we’re talking.
So what’s the big deal? Well, PM2.5 gets past your body’s natural defense system (think nose hairs and mucus) and goes straight for your big cushy lungs. From there, it can get into your bloodstream and cause all sorts of problems. Here’s a few:
- · Increased risk of hospital admissions and premature death in those with existing heart and lung diseases –asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart disease, or ischemic heart disease. Older people are especially susceptible.
- · Increased susceptibility to respiratory infections.
- Can aggravate existing respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis.
- · Difficult for people with existing lung disease and children (whose lungs are still developing) to breathe deeply causing coughing and shortness of breath.
Nobody wants any of that. But there are some things that can be done to protect you. We’ll talk about those next time. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, go check out the Idaho Health and Welfare website for more health related matters. If you’ve done that and aren’t ready to leave the black hole that is the internet, have a look at the DEQ’s website and learn about other pollutants. See ya next time!