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Mary B.

I am 27 years and have lived my whole life in Baltimore, Maryland. In the past year, my asthma and breathing have worsened enormously due to horrible air quality. 

The weather also affects my breathing. Climate change is a big reason as to why the weather is so horrible now. I did not grow up with asthma, have never smoked or done any drugs, and I was never around secondhand smoke enough to affect me. 

I developed asthma in my early twenties, and it has gotten steadily worse as the years have gone by. Humidity and excessive rain seem to continue to push the pollen count into overdrive, which also worsens my breathing as does the heavy volume of pollution here in Maryland from factories, trash, and traffic.  

I have been to many doctors recently for breathing problems because I seem to be plagued with upper respiratory infections and bronchitis recently. One of the nurses at my primary care physician's office asked me was if I was from Baltimore because of the symptoms I was describing, which alone tells me that I'm not the only one experiencing health problems with the air quality here and that it's getting worse. 

My breathing problems now seem to be impacting my oral health. Because my asthma makes me often have to breathe with my mouth open, my dentist tells me that combined with my asthma medications contributes to dry mouth, which can cause harmful bacteria to collect in your mouth.

I went from having no cavities to getting eleven. 

I worry about children living in polluted areas and how they will be able to breathe and afford treatment for their health. I am on over the counter and prescribed allergy and asthma medications as well as use inhalers and nebulizer treatments when needed. 

One of the worst feelings and fear in the world is not getting enough air or almost suffocating from lack of air. I am able to get treatment from medical assistance but what about those who can't? I am fearful of the future where people are more concerned with money in their pockets than actually investing in clean air and better health for all.

First published: March 4, 2019

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