“Now Is the Time to Take Care of Your Lungs. Here’s How.” This New York Times article explores how air pollution increases our vulnerability to coronavirus:
“The reasons are twofold. First, air pollution can cause or aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And those illnesses can make you more susceptible to the worst effects of lung infections. Second, exposure to air pollution is known to raise the chance of contracting viruses in the first place, regardless of underlying health conditions.”
While we are unable to manage levels of outdoor air pollution, we do have control over our indoor air. Although people often think of outdoor air quality when they think of pollution, levels of certain indoor air pollutants can be up to five times worse than outdoors.
The article makes various recommendations for protecting lung health indoors, including quitting smoking or avoiding secondhand smoke; remembering to use maintenance medication for asthma, like inhalers; turning on your stove ventilation when you’re cooking in order to expel respiratory irritants like nitrogen oxides; eliminating asthma triggers like mold; and pest-proofing your home. It also states:
“One caveat: For people living in proximity to major sources of pollution, opening a window might not be a good idea. That’s where an air purifier might be worth the investment if you can afford it.”