Our Polluted Air

Do you suffer from eczema?

Can’t work out what is causing it?

Just look around you.

There has been a marked increase in atopic conditions, including eczema and asthma over recent years.  We blame it on our life style.  But if you look at the air around us many of us are living in a constant film of haze or smog.  The fact that when we look into the distance we can actually see the air is a sure sign that our air is not as clean as it used to be.

The haze could well be attributed to the increase in eczema.

“Haze is made up of chemicals and particulate matter” says consultant allergist Prof Dr M Yadav.  Amongst the particulate matter found in the air are dust, dirt, soot, smoke and liquid droplets.

Particulate and gaseous air pollutants are likely to exacerbate allergic reactions and so cause an increase in conditions such as eczema and asthma.

The immune system is also stimulated by the haze.  The toxic compounds and particles in the haze will cause cytokines to be produced by the immune system, which will promote an allergic reaction.

Continuous haze in larger cities

Luckily for most of us the haze is only prevalent during certain wind conditions.  However for many, especially those living in the larger cities haze is a continuous problem that needs to be dealt with on a daily basis.  The air is continuously contaminated with pollutants that we put in it through neglect and ignorance.

Avoiding the outdoors on a particularly hazy day is probably the safest approach when trying to control eczema and asthma.

Keeping fluid levels up will also help as a well-hydrated lining of the respiratory airways will make the area less vulnerable to irritation.

Prolonged exposure to the chemicals and particle matter of haze may result in particles getting deposited on the skin, which in turn causes further irritation.  Cleansing and moisturizing the skin regularly will help.

In a sense the pollution in our air is a part of our modern lifestyle, and unfortunately one that we as individuals have little control over.  But if each of us as a community were more conscious of our air and the importance of it perhaps we would be able to reduce the level of pollution that we breathe in and contaminate our bodies with each and every day.

I for one am glad I live in a smaller city where the smog or haze is at a minimum.

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