Does a short term increase in air pollution lead to more respiratory infections?  We all know that long term exposure to air born pollution has a bad effect on your health.  Smoking, working in a coal mine, asbestos exposure all lead to lung function issues.

Current studies are showing that brief increases in air pollution are detrimental to all populations.  This can be an increase for something as small as excess dust, dirt, soot and smoke.

There is an increase in lower respiratory infections like:

  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Influenza
  • Pertussis

From the time of exposure it can take 2 to 3 weeks before people seek treatment so they are not connecting the excess pollution exposure to the respiratory infection.

0 – 2 Year olds after being exposed to increases in pollution were at a 15% higher risk for infection.

3 – 17 Year olds after being exposed to increases in pollution were at a 32% higher risk for infection.

Adults after being exposed to increases in pollution were at a 19% higher risk for infection.

It is important that we all take steps to protect ourselves from air pollution whenever we can. Most of us live in areas that have a continual higher level of pollution than is recommended by the EPA.  Adding an air purifier or using good filters on our furnace and air conditioners is a must to help avoid respiratory infections.

Key Points:

  • 1People who are exposed to even brief periods of air pollution with vulnerability, such as babies, can develop acute lower respiratory infections.
  • 2Brief spikes in environmental pollution can increase infection risk.
  • 3Air purifiers and good filters on HVAC equipment can help keep us safe from breathing in air pollutants.

This study clearly delineates another deleterious effect of environmental pollution in the young


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