Did you know that nine out of ten people breathe polluted air?
Air pollution is one of the leading causes of mortality in the world, causing 7 million deaths annually. Health experts cataloged in 2018 that ambient air pollution is one of the greatest health risks.
Generally, we consider walking outdoors healthy. This may still be true! Walking can be very beneficial for physical and mental health. The difference is that, now, we are also exposed to many potentially harmful pollutants every time we go out.
Who are most vulnerable?
Although air pollution affects us all, in some people, it has a greater negative impact. Children, older adults, people with chronic respiratory or cardiovascular diseases, and pregnant women are among the most vulnerable populations.
Some individuals that could be seriously affected are:
· Children and adolescents
· Pregnant women
· People older than 65 years old
· People with chronic respiratory disease
· People with chronic cardiovascular disease
· People who have suffered a heart attack or a stroke
· People who regularly work or exercise outdoors
Why do we not notice when the air is polluted?
It’s completely normal not to notice it. It’s hard to know if the air we breathe is polluted, as pollutants are mostly invisible and odorless. Ozone and nitrogen dioxide particles, among others, could be present in our environment and we would not know it.
Some pollutants are microscopic and can break through many of our body’s protective barriers, damaging our lungs, heart, and brain.
What harm does daily exposure to pollutants cause?
Symptoms (short term and medium term):
· Dizziness and headache
· Watery eyes and redness
· Nausea and vomiting
· Cough and throat irritation
· Ear infections
· Sneezing and nasal bleeding
· Fever and chills
· Chest pain, inflammation and lung infection
· Muscle pain and skin rashes
Conditions (long term):
· Brain hemorrhages
· Lung cancer
· Heart disease
How can we protect ourselves?
1. Check the daily reports of environmental pollution.
2. Limit all walks on public roads during peak traffic hours. Try to carry children in your arms to lift them above the level of car emissions.
3. Limit the time you spend at places where many vehicles run through.
4. When you exercise outdoors, do so in less polluted areas, keeping yourself informed about pollution rates.
5. Don’t burn your waste, as the smoke is very harmful.
6. Use less energy in your home.
7. Don’t let anyone smoke in an enclosed space.
Risk of hospitalization
Experts from the U.S. medical journal BMJ found that “short term exposure to [partículas contaminantes en el aire][pollutant particles in the air] is associated with several newly identified causes of hospital admissions, even at levels below international air qualityguidelines.”
It is recommended that anyone who is regularly exposed to contaminates environments undergo frequent screening to identify any disorder as soon as possible. The specific tests and the number of times annually that they should do so will depend on the substances to which they may be exposed. This is something your doctor will determine.
Protect yourself with TOLIC
At TOLIC, we want you to be well and healthy. Therefore, we offer you an Accident and Illness policy that helps you face unforeseen expenses, paying the benefits directly to you. In addition, in case of a hospitalization, the hospitalization benefit pays you up to $250 and the intensive care benefit pays you up to $1,500. You can also customize your coverage even more by combining it with other additional coverages available.