Beware! Deteriorating air pollution levels can lead to worse Covid-19 outcomes

Air pollution in India has been a cause of concern for several years now. The constant deteriorating levels of air pollution, caused by both humans and natural contributors, is making it worse for the people living around. As per reports, over half of India’s population live in places where air pollution exceeds normal levels. Not only is it concerning, if left unnoticed it can be lethal. Also Read – COVID-19 Surge In India: Night Curfew Imposed In Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi From Today

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution contributes to 43 per cent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cases and death across the globe. Several studies have found that long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to diseases such as lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, preterm delivery and more. Also Read – 4th COVID-19 Wave Is More Dangerous For People Aged 20-45 yrs: Warns Delhi Minister

Air Pollution Linked With Worse Outcomes In Covid-19

According to a review published in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society, elevated levels of pollution can have detrimental effects on people suffering from Covid-19. As per the report, exposure to long-term fine inhalable particle (PM2.5) can increase the chances of mortality by 8 per cent during the pandemic. Exposure to small particles and toxic gases, emitted by industries, households, cars, and trucks are some of the worst pollutants that could worsen viral respiratory infections. In total, air pollution contributed to 15 per cent of Covid-19 mortality in the world. Also Read – World Health Day: Lifestyle diseases can impact your productive years; Here’s how to mitigate the risk

The team examined previous studies to determine the effects of air pollution on Covid-19 and the relationship between pollution, respiratory viruses, and health disparities. Stephen Andrew Mein, from the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, US, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the widespread health consequences of ambient air pollution, including acute effects on respiratory immune defences and chronic effects that lead to a higher risk of chronic cardiopulmonary disease and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).”

Preliminary studies have found that there is a link between high levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air and a high number of deaths from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Researchers at Harvard University also found in one of their studies that even a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 can lead to an increased death rate from novel coronavirus. Based on the results of these studies, researchers concluded that long-term exposure to air pollutants not only makes it more likely for a person to get infected, but it also increased the susceptibility of developing more severe infections.

Exposure Can Aggravate All-Cause Mortality

Several studies have found that tiny particles of air pollution can increase your chances of developing chronic diseases and elevate mortality rates in high-pollution areas. A study published in the European Heart Journal found that exposure to highly intoxicated fine particulate matter can activate the production cells in the bone marrow, leading to an inflammation of the arteries, thus developing cardiovascular diseases. As mentioned, it can also chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, preterm delivery and more. There is an immediate need to curb air pollution by taking necessary steps that can help curb its effects.

(with inputs from IANS) 

Published : April 8, 2021 12:46 pm

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