It’s time to bear down when polluted air becomes too much to bear

There are many times in many places throughout the world where air is quite problematic. Air pollution, moreover, based on World Health Organization estimates has been named a contributing factor in 7 million annual premature deaths. It is by no means a pretty picture.

It is common knowledge that one manifestation of a substantially warming Earth is global sea-level rise. In this context, in extreme cases a common response has been relocation, as in moving oneself, one’s family, or an entire community even, to higher ground, all done in an effort to put one or more or all of the above out of harm’s way – or put yet another way, protection of life, limb and property from such global-warming-induced fallout.

Image illustrating an asthma attack

It is likewise understood that a manifestation of air contamination is harm to the body or health. To help minimize the impact, the response can sometimes involve relocation for those affected who have both the inclination and the means. And, while there have been situations where individuals and/or households have picked up and moved to locations where the air is less problematic or not an issue at all, that practice is, shall we say, a less-practiced alternative?

On those days or at times when pollution hangs heavy in the air, for example, for those living in California’s San Joaquin Valley with both the means and inclination, a day trip to the nearby mountains at an elevation high enough to get above the pollution layer, either that or day-tripping it over to the Golden State’s Central Coast, could bring much welcome air pollution relief.

On the other hand, for those who lack the means and are confronted with the same bad-air circumstance and who may also have a pre-existing condition such as asthma, there being the potential that a severe air-pollution episode could trigger an asthma flare-up, remedies could include staying indoors, seeking professional medical attention, using an inhaler or the like. Then again, for some, a visit to an oxygen bar – locations that dispense oxygen on-site – could be what’s in store. It should be noted that about 1-in-5 Valley residents is an asthmatic, a figure higher than the national average.

Under a worst-case scenario an emergency room or emergency department visit might be the only remedy. It is a quite commonly held understanding there are increased hospital emergency room/department visits when there are corresponding heightened area air pollution episodes.

The resolutions presented above, incidentally, could be otherwise referred to as air pollution interventions.

As for pollution in the air? Well, eliminating that would be the ideal. Obviously, such is easier said than done. But, with a strong political will, an unrelenting commitment, and the correct mitigating strategy or strategies in place, getting rid of the nemesis that is air pollution is definitely within the realm of possibility.

The thought of that very ideal is indeed a comforting one.

Image above: U.S. National Institutes of Health: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute