Suffering from an illness can be unpleasant, so you’ll want to ensure that any illness you get isn’t caused by something more severe than bacteria or germs.
The most common pollutants that people come into contact with every day are air pollution and water pollution, which can cause lung cancer and other respiratory issues if exposed to enough of it over time.
On the other hand, the flu virus usually causes self-limiting symptoms that last only a week or two, but if left untreated, it can lead to pneumonia and even death in some cases.
COVID has also proven to be one of the deadliest viruses of the 21st century. With all these in mind, what are the short-term and long-term effects of these three on your overall health?
Who Is At More Risk Of Suffering The Effects Of Pollution, Flu, And COVID?
Everyone is at risk for pollution (And Disease) — But not everyone is at equal risk. Generally speaking, children and older adults suffer disproportionately from environmental factors like pollution and disease.
Since children have smaller lungs than adults—and since their immune systems aren’t fully developed—they often experience more severe or chronic side effects from exposure to toxins.
Similarly, many seniors are more susceptible to infectious diseases and other illnesses. Seniors may live longer than they ever have before, but that doesn’t mean they’re not prone to certain health issues (like those related to cleanliness).
Effects Of Pollution, Flu, And COVID
The worst-case scenario for these threats is most likely respiratory disease. Air pollution could cause your lungs to fail, and a flu virus could leave you gasping for air until you run out of oxygen. Both can lead to death within days, depending on how bad they are.
A COVID infection would make it hard to breathe right away due to a lack of oxygen, and that could lead to death in hours.
Long Term Effects Of Pollution, Flu, And COVID: Air pollution can lead to lung cancer if you continue breathing it in while pollutants coat your lungs like paint.
A flu virus could also lead to chronic respiratory problems after attacking your lungs like tuberculosis or bronchitis.
A COVID infection would continue to make it hard to breathe even after you’ve been treated. Those who survive would have long-term respiratory issues like COPD.
While the flu and COVID are not fun, they tend to pass quickly and result in minimal long-term effects. However, many of the short-term effects of pollution are severe, lingering, and potentially life-threatening.
For example, when you breathe in polluted air, you risk suffering from lung cancer or other respiratory diseases like asthma. Pollution is hazardous for kids because it can stunt their development or even lead to asthma attacks. In such situations, it’s prudent to have a reusable N95 (or better) face mask, like this one from AusAir.
It’s also important to remember that climate change worsens all pollution levels, so it’s a good idea to think about carbon footprint when planning your trip; carpooling can help reduce carbon emissions by as much as 50% on any given trip.
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