Air Pollution and Respiratory Infections Including COVID-19: Q & A

by Diana Gooding on June 12, 2020


From the Newsletter of the Environmental Health Project, Summer, Issue 6, June 2020

EHP has been taking an active look at the connection between air pollution and respiratory infections such as COVID-19. What we’re finding is a stronger relationship than you might imagine. As our blog post “Air Pollution and Respiratory Infections: Q & A” notes, if you’ve been exposed to air pollution and you contract a respiratory infection, your symptoms may be more severe.

“A number of scientific studies have shown a link between air pollution and respiratory infections,” said EHP’s public health nurse Sarah Rankin, MPH, RN. “These studies show that being exposed to air pollution may aid in making a respiratory infection worse. It might also increase your chances of getting a respiratory infection in the first place.”

Naturally, at EHP, we want to offer ways you can help to protect your health and your family’s health from the effects of pollution in your air. The Q & A blog post talks about how you can monitor the air in and around your home and suggests steps you can take to reduce pollution there. Along those lines, EHP has produced a short video explaining how to make an affordable and effective air filter using a box fan and a HEPA-certified furnace filter. This DIY fan/furnace filter can help to make your home’s air cleaner.

If you want to take a deeper dive into the science behind the relationship between air pollution and respiratory infection, you might be interested in EHP’s review of the studies mentioned above. “Air Pollution and Respiratory Infections: Reviewing the Science” looks at more than two dozen research studies that tackle the issue from the standpoint of disease severity, hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and deaths during pandemics, including COVID-19.

Feel free to contact EHP for more information on air pollution as it affects your health and well-being.

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