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Air Pollution & Your Health

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Dr. Eric Bernicker, Medical Director of Medical Oncology, who specializes in lung cancer, sat down with Claudia to discuss how air quality can impact your health.

What causes bad air quality?

Simply put, bad air quality comes from large amounts of pollution in the air. Air pollution sometimes can be visible but in most cases, it’s invisible particulates swirling all around us. While commercial industry is one of the primary causes of pollution, consumer behaviors also increase the amount of particulates in the air. Everyday things like driving your car or mowing your lawn contribute to increased levels of pollution. Here in Colorado we have the additional threat of wildfires impacting our air quality.

What to know before your go outside on a air quality alert day

Coloradans love to get outdoors but on those air quality alert days, it might be best to think twice before exposing yourself, especially if you have any kind of respiratory illness. If you do decide to go outside to enjoy the day, remember the following:

  • Avoid busy roads
  • Check weather apps for air quality
  • Limit your time outside
  • Wash off after your come back inside

Can exposure to high levels of pollution cause health issues?

Yes. Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause health issues in many patients. In the most extreme cases, people who are exposed to toxic levels of air pollution can develop lung cancer. In many of these lung cancer cases, many of the patients were not even smokers or exposed to second-hand smoke. There have even been studies linking other types of cancers and respiratory illnesses linked to air pollution. For example, scientist found a correlation between breast cancer and living near major roadways.

Who is at greatest risk on air quality alert days?

Children, those with underlying health conditions and the elderly are the most susceptible to the affects of air pollution. However, if you live near industrial areas or refineries or are exposed to smoke inhalation, you could also be at higher-risk.

Healthy Colorado is a partnership with CommonSpirit to bring you health and wellness information to elevate your overall well-being. This sponsored series provides health and wellness information to help Coloradans live their best life, whether it’s an article on mitigating injuries when skiing or an interview with a healthcare specialist, CommonSpirit and 9NEWS look to provide insights to living a healthier life.

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Air Pollution & Your Health

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