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Summer Time and the Living’s Smoggy



July 30th, 2005

By Stal Herz




While the summer time may mean trips to the beach and long Sunday afternoons on the grass with your toes feeling a breeze that’s been blowing for a spell, Monday through Friday are usually spent in the city, and while inside the concrete jungle there is a certain element that hangs around - unrestricted to zoning laws.


Smog.


More and more, the roads are getting congested and the emissions that enter the atmosphere are doing such damage to the environment that future generations might not have a legitimate chance of breathing correctly if they live too close to the city


Conditions such as emphysema and cancer have been linked to smog in a recent study by the Center of Disease Control. For office workers who work in protected environments, you may be OK during the day, but what about your kids who are outside playing or just walking from place to place. How safe is it out there and what can you do to prevent smog from causing serious risks to your health?


A recent report released by the American Lung Association stated that 55 percent of Americans live in counties that are polluted by smog and are said to have hazardous consequences when inhaled. California, especially southern California, holds most of the top ten spots.


You can check out this link to see where your state ranks in relation to the highest levels of smog: http://lungaction.org/reports/stateoftheair2004.html


Smog is the result of pollutants emerging from cars, factories and any devices that produce emissions. The chemical in this burning fuel combines with air and sunlight, creating a tight vacuum where air stands still and cannot move. The bacteria that mixes in the air is the smog that you see covering so many cityscapes.


If you have respiratory problems or summer-time asthma attacks, it is recommended that you limit your time outside during the key hours of smog inhalation, which is from noon to 5 o’clock.


Adjusting your diet for these smoggy times can be a huge help to you. Eating leafy green vegetables can increase your lungs ability to filter out the infectious chemicals that have entered your body through your walk through the city and will reduce the risk of lung cancer, which is a growing concern amongst non smokers living in heavily polluted areas. Make sure that you are not cooking your intake of vegetables, as this decreases the amount of vitamins and anti-oxidants that they contain to help your immune system battle the effects of smog.


If you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables, make sure your supplements contain large doses of vitamins A, C and E, the key components in battling outside would be invaders from going into your body.


Orange slices are not just for your kids t-ball games anymore. Bring them to your office with you and share for an afternoon snack. It will boost energy and keep people from hacking when they go outside because they will have the extra strength needed to breathe in the modern metropolis.


A study in the September 9th, 2004 New England Journal of Medicine found that early exposure to smog at a young age leads to increased difficulty in breathing later on in life. Because of this, part of your morning routine, no matter what your age, should be to check the smog reports or the air quality levels in your area and the areas you are traveling to in the daytime. The weather section in your local paper will usually show you the air quality for the day.


If you see a poor quality day, make sure you drink an extra-amount of water and stay inside rooms with plenty of ventilation. If you or your children are engaged in strenuous activities, make sure they take a break every 20 minutes or so to re-hydrate with water. Sports drinks with sugar often times only give you energy, so make sure water is your primary source of refreshment.


Aside from the physical and environmental changes that you can control, it might be a good idea to start ride sharing and car pooling. Besides doing something to better the environment, you’ll be increasing your social skills and might even develop a healthier social life, which can only lead to positive results both physically and mentally.


Smoking cigarettes also contributes to the problems, as you are creating your own mini emissions factory that is coming from your cigarette as well as your mouth. That’s two shots at lung cancer in one drag.


Awareness over all is the key, so be aware of each breath around you and know that you have to fight it before you step out in it.




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