The Impact of Air Pollution on Your Health
from Ohio State University (I swear, those Buckeyes never let up, do they?) documents the impact of fine particulate matter on the immune system. The gist is that the inhalation of particulate matter results in the release of an overabundance of white blood cells and a wide spread inflammatory response. When the body's defenses, in pursuit of a "real" enemy, don't find one--the impact is even worse, as the superheros of the immune system simply attack the body itself.
I'm going to make a leap here--see if Ohio State backs me up later!--that this could be similar to the response of our bodies to increased pollen counts. It's particulate matter. It's getting bigger and more concentrated all the time (
, global warming and higher concentrations of carbon dioxide)--and makes more people (now 1 in 5 as opposed to 1 in 30 a couple decades ago) miserable than ever before. And that response is ... inflammation. Of the sinuses, at the very least, but for growing numbers of people the misery extends beyond the sinuses to nearly "flu-like" symptoms.
Now. The study was to determine impacts on the
-respiratory system. As any good student of heart disease can tell you, elevation of inflammatory response causes all kinds of trouble outside the respiratory system. So do yourself a favor--the next time your local weatherman says the air is just not that good today--listen, stay inside, and turn on that air cleaner.