Recently, the health hazards of haze pollution have become a hot topic of discussion. So, what are the health hazards of smog? What protections should be taken on hazy days?
What impact does PM2.5 have on health?
PM2.5 refers to suspended particulate matter with an aerodynamic equivalent diameter of less than or equal to 2.5 microns, also known as particulate matter that can enter the lungs. It has a small particle size and can carry many heavy metal ions (such as lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc.), chemical substances (such as sulfate, formaldehyde, etc.), as well as toxic and harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses.
PM2.5 can enter bronchioles and alveoli through the respiratory tract, enter the entire blood circulation system, damage the respiratory system, destroy the immune system, cause respiratory system, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, and have a serious impact on people’s daily travel and life.
The particle size of PM2.5 in the air is small and easy to settle in the alveolar area. Atmospheric particles entering the respiratory tract can destroy the defense function of the respiratory tract, impair lung function, cause cough, phlegm, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other diseases, induce or aggravate inflammation, and cause the occurrence and symptoms of asthma in children and adults. of aggravation.
PM2.5 can stimulate the vagus nerve in the lungs, causing autonomic nervous system disorders and affecting the heart, causing cardiac toxicity, such as changes in heart rate variability, myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, etc.
PM2.5 can cause blood system toxicity, cause abnormal coagulation function, increase blood viscosity in the body, and lead to cardiovascular events such as atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. It is a potential risk for vascular accidents.
There are many harmful substances such as heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons attached to PM2.5, which can damage genetic material and interfere with normal cell division, destroy the body’s immune function, and cause cancer and malformations. It can easily lead to fetal intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight. The poison can also pass through the placenta and directly poison the fetus, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
Scientific research data shows that the harm of PM2.5 to human health is complex and diverse, and some of the harmful effects have not yet been fully understood by humans.
Eight key points for self-protection in hazy days
How to protect your health in hazy days? We should do the following:
1. Wear a mask. It can effectively prevent pollutants in haze from directly contacting the mouth and nose, which is a direct and effective way of prevention. It is best to buy masks from regular medical supply stores.
2. Wear a hat. Hair absorbs pollutants, so wearing a hat before going out can reduce your hair from being contaminated with more fine particles.
3. Wear long clothes. It is recommended to cover the surface skin of the body as much as possible to reduce the contact area between the skin and harmful air. Wearing long coats in winter is both warm and healthy.
4. Reduce going out. It can directly cut off contact with smog, especially the elderly and children, who should minimize outdoor activities.
5. Remember to “short, flat and fast” in outdoor activities. It is very necessary to reduce the time for outdoor activities in hazy weather. The principles of staying briefly, breathing calmly, and walking quickly in small steps should be followed.
6. Improve personal hygiene. When going to work or going out to do other things on hazy days, you should do a good job of personal hygiene in a timely manner after returning home.
7. Enter the house and wash your face and hands. After staying outdoors “fully armed”, the places where the skin is most exposed to harmful particles are the face and hands. Therefore, wash your face and hands before entering the house.
8. Pay attention to your diet and regulate your emotions. Eat more foods rich in amino acids to maintain normal physiological, biochemical, and immune functions of antibodies, as well as growth, development, metabolism and other life activities. Due to the lack of sunshine, weak light and low air pressure in foggy days, some people will be lazy and depressed in foggy days, so they should pay attention to adjustments.
Author: Wang Xianliang, expert in the National Health Science Popularization Expert Database and director of the Indoor Environment and Health Monitoring Office of the Institute of Environmental and Health-related Product Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Ye Dan, Institute of Environmental and Health-related Product Safety, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention