Is Air Pollution Causing Asthma?

Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the lungs. It can cause unpleasant symptoms, and a severe asthma attack can lead to respiratory failure and even death.

If you’re one of the 25 million Americans living with asthma, you’ll know that it can limit your everyday activities and have a significant impact on your quality of life.

It helps to know more about the triggers behind asthma and what you can do to avoid them. In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at this condition and examine the link between air pollution and asthma. Read on to know more about asthma, which air pollutant most contributes to asthma, and what you can do to avoid triggering your asthma due to air pollution.

About asthma

Asthma is a condition where the airways that transport air in and out of your lungs narrow and become inflamed from time to time — triggered by an allergen, pollutant, or other cause. This results in uncomfortable symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, mucus production, a tight chest, and a feeling that you can’t breathe properly.

Some people may only suffer from mild or infrequent symptoms of asthma. But for others, it can be a daily struggle to perform their tasks and simply get on with their life.

The long-term consequences

In many cases, asthma can be controlled with medication or devices such as inhalers. But when asthma is uncontrolled, it can have serious long-term consequences, including:

  • Reduced lung function
  • Increased airway inflammation, which means your regular medication may not work
  • Weakness and inability to take part in normal day-to-day activities

Overuse of steroid medications

People who use steroid medications to treat their asthma long-term can also suffer from side effects like:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cataracts
  • High blood pressure
  • Cushing’s disease — symptoms include weight gain, skin changes, and muscle and bone loss

The risk of a severe asthma attack

A severe asthma attack is a life-threatening emergency. Signs of a severe asthma attack include:

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath that gets worse quickly
  • No improvement on using an inhaler
  • Symptoms such as shortness of breath when you are not exerting yourself

The day-to-day implications of living with asthma and its long-term effects mean that many people with the condition wish to avoid the main triggers, which we’ll look at in the next section.

Asthma’s main triggers

There are many reasons why your asthma may be triggered. These triggers may vary from person to person. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Air pollutants like smoke and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) — compounds emitted as gas from chemicals found in many household items
  • Airborne allergens including pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander
  • Respiratory infections
  • Cold air
  • Physical exertion
  • Some medications
  • Stress

Unfortunately, many of these triggers are all around us, and in the case of asthma from air pollution, it can be hard to detect exactly what’s setting off an attack. This makes air pollution one of the most concerning triggers for asthma attacks. Let’s delve a little deeper and find out more.

The air pollutant that most contributes to asthma

It’s hard to know exactly which air pollutant most contributes to asthma. The problem is that there are so many different types of contaminants and allergens out there that it’s difficult to pinpoint the most significant trigger.

These are the primary indoor pollutants for asthma:

  • Biologic allergens such as pet dander, mold, dust mites, and cockroaches
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Irritant fumes and chemicals
  • Products from combustion devices such as gas or oil-fired boilers or water heaters, wood stoves or fireplaces

How air pollution triggers asthma

Pollution and asthma have a relationship that works in more ways than one but essentially, air pollution can directly trigger an asthma attack.

It can also make any established inflammation of the airways worse. This means that the airways become hypersensitive to triggers even after the individual is no longer in a polluted environment.

Pollutants can also act to intensify how the immune system responds to triggers. The relationship is complex and multi-faceted and leads us onto our next section.

Air pollution and asthma

As we know from the above section, there is a definite relationship between air pollution and asthma.

In this article on air pollution and childhood asthma, the Environmental Protection Agency categorically cites the role air pollution plays in making asthma symptoms worse and triggering attacks. 

One study suggested that exposure to high levels of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide could actually suppress the genes that help the immune system distinguish between a harmless and a harmful substance. An inflammatory response leading to asthma is then triggered.

With this knowledge, we need to do everything we can to reduce air pollution to safeguard the health of ourselves and our families.

How to stop air pollution causing asthma

Now that you know more about asthma due to air pollution, you’re probably wondering how to minimize pollution in your environment.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Seek your doctor’s advice in the first instance if you think you or a family member is developing asthma.
  • Remove triggers such as carpets or drapes that can harbor allergens such as dust from your home.
  • Retain humidity levels of 35-50% to reduce the chances of mold growth and to keep dust mites at bay.
  • Clean your home regularly with a HEPA vacuum cleaner.
  • Use an expert-rated Oransi HEPA air purifier suitable for people with asthma. It should bear a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) rating. The ratings range from 1, at the lower end of the scale, up to 20, the most effective. All our air purifiers have an equivalent MERV rating of 17 to 20 — assuring you that they work efficiently.

Creating a healthier, asthma-free environment

We’ve learned from a wide variety of sources that air pollution can trigger or even cause asthma, a serious lifelong condition. But it’s reassuring to know that there are many steps you can take to minimize air pollution in your home. 

All these measures combined, along with using a Clemson University-rated purifier from Oransi, will help make your environment clearer and cleaner and reduce the risk of triggering asthma.

With free shipping in the U.S., you are only a few clicks away from a fresher, healthier environment designed to help keep you and your family healthy!