12 health issues caused by poor air quality, from headaches to sinus pain
- Hazardous air quality puts people at risk of lung and heart inflammation.
- The CDC says this air can cause many health issues including sinus pain.
This summer, dark smogs, with a strong smell of burnt wood, have been creeping across the US, spilling over from wildfires.
This hazy air is filled with tiny particles, measuring around 2.5 micrometers or smaller. That is tiny. (To put that in context, with information from the EPA: a human hair is about 70 micrometers in diameter, and the human eye can't see particles smaller than 25 micrometers.)
Inhaling these particles can cause inflammation of the heart and lungs. Doing so is particularly risky for children, older people, and those with chronic illnesses, Insider previously reported.
But there are other, more immediate health effects to watch out for, too.
12 signs you are suffering from exposure to poor-quality air
The CDC says people exposed to fine-particle pollution, like the kind seen across the northern US right now, may experience:
- Trouble breathing
- Asthma attacks
- Stinging eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Runny nose
- Irritated sinuses
- Chest pain
- Fast heartbeat
Why wildfires can cause headaches
As Huffington Post reported, the conditions caused by wildfires can lead to congestion and sinus blockage, which can cause headaches.
The authors of a recent NIH study, cited in the Huffington Post report, found a correlation between wildfires in California and people reporting tension headaches.
Dr. Raj Fadadu, a wildfires researcher at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, told the New York Times that inflammation caused by inhaling particles likely plays a role in wildfire-related headaches.
The NIH study authors warned that this is going to become a frequent issue for more people as the world warms. "As climate change drives longer and more intense wildfire seasons, wildfire PM 2.5 may contribute to more frequent headaches," the authors said.
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