Dr. Ronda B., WI
Every cell in our body uses oxygen for optimal function. When the air we breathe is contaminated, those contaminants get into our lungs, sometimes deep within the lungs where the exchange of gases take place. Not only do the particles increase the risk of developing infections, emphysema or other lung disorders, they also interfere with the intake of oxygen and output of carbon dioxide.
I had asthma in my youth. For the most part, my lungs gave me little trouble until I moved to Green Bay to go to college. Within the first month of living in Green Bay, my sinuses swelled to the point where I couldn't breathe out of them; shortly afterwards, I had repeated asthma flare-ups to the point where my schooling was in jeopardy, not to mention my life. It took a lot of work on my part (and that of my GP) to get things settled.
I realized the connection between my health and the air quality in Green Bay when I went on a vacation to Florida. I had no respiratory troubles at all and my sinuses cleared! I still live in Green Bay, but when things get rough with my health, I go to Appleton or another city within driving distance so that my sinuses and lungs will improve, even for a little while.
At www.airnow.gov, they monitor air quality, and I watch our air levels. However, their reports have changed for our area after a report in the local newspaper indicated how poor our air quality was--since that time, they say we only have good (green) air days, but compared to the previous 2 years where we had only a handful of green days (most were yellow or orange with a few reds intermixed), I believe the reports are in error. My sinuses and lungs know.