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Air Pollution Affecting Our Health in Surprising Ways

Administration Staff

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Making the connection between air pollution and respiratory illnesses is fairly straightforward. After all, breathing polluted air into the lungs is a cut-and-dry process, and it’s easy to see how it can compromise the health of your respiratory system. Similarly, it’s fairly simple to see how air pollution could be connected to problems involving the bloodstream, since pollutants enter it through the respiratory system.

However, two new studies show links between air pollution and two surprising conditions that are sure to leave you scratching your head: appendicitis and ear infections.

As Francine Laden, of the Harvard School of Public Health has noted, possible connections between air pollution and a bevy of common conditions are being explored every day. This is largely due to increasing public concern and awareness about the dangers of breathing in impure air. Indoor air quality has become a chief concern of people around the world, and these two studies serve to highlight its importance. Although these studies do not make concrete connections between air pollution and appendicitis and ear infections, they do suggest possible links and should be taken very seriously. If you’re concerned about your own health and that of your family, read on to learn more.

Appendicitis and Air Pollution – Evidence of a Possible Correlation

The appendicitis study was conducted by the University of Calgary, and its findings were published in the Canadian Medical Association journal. In the study, 5,191 adult cases of appendicitis were looked at very carefully. The dates’ of each person’s admission to the hospital was compared with records of local air pollution levels for the same period of time. Based on what was uncovered, the chances of developing appendicitis appear to more than double when air pollution is excessively high. Therefore, cases were highest during the summer, when air pollution is also highest.

You may be asking yourself, “How could air pollution possibly trigger appendicitis?” Although there is no definite answer or explanation available, researchers believe that the inflammatory responses that are triggered by exposure to air pollution could, in turn, bring on appendicitis. When the body prepares an inflammatory response, it produces a key group of substances that are known to cause appendicitis. The link may be a bit tenuous, but it is something to consider and could very well explain why hospital admissions for appendicitis shoot up when pollution levels are high.

Air Pollution: A Link to Ear Infections?

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head And Neck Surgery in San Diego is where the study of a possible link between ear infections and air pollution was presented. In the study, researchers took a closer look at 126,060 cases of ear infections and compared them to data regarding air pollution levels from the same period of time. These cases all occurred between 1997 and 2006. During that ten year time period, cases of ear infections went down – just as levels of key pollutants like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous dioxide and particulate matter went down, too.

A possible connection between ear infections and air pollution may seem farfetched, but one pediatric otolaryngologist from UCLA, Dr. Nina Shapiro, disagrees. According to Shapiro, air pollutants have been shown to damage cilia in the body. Cilia – tiny hairs – are used to keep foreign objects out of the body, and are present in the ears. Therefore, it is definitely possible that air pollution damages the cilia of the ears and makes a person more susceptible to coming down with an ear infection. Again, this does not prove a definite link between the two – but it is compelling, nonetheless.

Staying Healthy, No Matter Where You Live

Unfortunately, air pollution is a fact of life for everyone, no matter where they live. Staying indoors does nothing to prevent the issue, since indoor air pollution is rampant. How can you keep your family healthy and help lessen their chances of developing appendicitis, ear infections and many different respiratory ailments? HEPA air purifiers are one great way. A HEPA based air purifier can filter up to 99.97% of airborne pollutants from the air in your home, making breathing much easier and healthier for everyone in it. Clean Air Plus understands the importance of breathing clean, pure air. That’s why we stock and supply the best HEPA air purifiers available.

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