How Air Pollution Affects Asthma, Lungs, and Heart


Thankfully, the air quality index (AQI) for Galveston is higher than average, at 81 on a scale of 100 (higher is better). But folks visiting Galveston from out of town may not be prepared for Texas-sized allergens in the air. Unusually sensitive people, like those with asthma, should be prepared for the unexpected while traveling.

For instance, family members that suffer from respiratory health conditions like asthma, COPD, emphysema, or any lung or heart conditions, should know where the nearest emergency room is in case they lose their medication or have a medical emergency. Allergens and air pollution like exhaust fumes from boats, cruise ships, and airplanes can aggravate their condition. For an emergency room in Galveston, Hospitality Health ER is located close to the main strip on Seawall Blvd.

The Impact of Air Quality on Asthma, COPD, and Heart Conditions 

How Does Poor Air Quality Affect Asthmatics?

If you are prone to asthma, it means you have sensitive airways. Contaminants in the air can easily cause you to wheeze, cough, or have a shortness of breath. Wherever you’re going, it’s important to research the air quality and allergens of the places you will be traveling to. Your asthma can get worse in the hotter months due to ultraviolet rays and stagnant air that traps airborne particles and photochemical oxidants in the air you breathe.

Acute episodes of asthma in children and older adults tend to rise during summer days marked with high pollution levels. A study  found that older adults were more likely to visit the emergency room for breathing problems when summer air pollution was high.

How Does Poor Air Quality Impact the Lungs?

Smog can cause lung dysfunction and respiratory problems, even in a healthy person. As a matter a fact, one study revealed a ten percent decrease in lung capacity of children exposed to fumes from diesel fuel. So imagine what it’s like for someone who already has a lung condition. When you breathe in polluted air, toxic airborne particles seep into the sensitive areas of the lungs and can exacerbate an existing condition, such as emphysema. Before you travel, be prepared for the types of conditions you’ll encounter, not only in your destination but also along the way. For instance, you may want to consider wearing a respiratory protection mask when walking through a congested city or even riding on an airplane.

How Does Poor Air Quality Affect Cardiovascular Diseases?

Toxins trapped in the ozone can enter the bloodstream, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood. This exposure can trigger symptoms of cardiovascular disease or even worse. Heart attacks, strokes, and irregular heart rhythms become a concern for people with pre-existing cardiovascular disease, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To avoid a medical emergency or a trip to the emergency room during your vacation, stay inside during high smog or high pollution days. If you are experiencing an asthma attack, report to an emergency room immediately.

If you’re in in need of a Galveston doctor open 24-7, walk right in to Hospitality Health ER at 4222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX.