Krakow’s Smog Crisis: 4 Steps to Protect Yourself
The WHO has ranked air pollution as one of top 10 preventable causes of death. In fact it has predicted that by 2020 there will be 8 million deaths per year due to air pollutants. Yet the air quality in Krakow has devolved to the point where it is often worse than in cities infamous for their smog, like Beijing and Los Angeles.
The air has major health implications for everyone, but especially for vulnerable populations like those with asthma and other chronic diseases. Moreover, the air is especially important for children as they not only play outside but also have developing lungs. As a result of this air, each child in the city is at a higher risk of developing asthma. Particulate pollution, a kind of pollutant made of small particles is especially present in Krakow, has even been found to increase the chance of lung cancer. Apart from the lungs, heart health is directly related to air pollution, as air pollution has been found to contribute to cardiovascular disease and strokes.
According to Jagiellonian University radiologists, a chest x-ray (CXR) of an adult non-smoker who has lived in Krakow their whole lives will show visibly more damaged lungs than the CXR of a patient from a city with cleaner air. The seriousness of the air pollution can no longer be ignored. These problems get worse when it gets cold outside. In the winter, when the pollution from burning coal and wood is unavoidable, already ill patients can have pollution-related exacerbation of their conditions. These exacerbations can result in lengthy hospitalization as physicians work to help patients breathe.
The solutions to the air problems in Krakow involve many political and socioeconomic conditions in the region. Yet while it may take politicians many years before they resolve these problems, residents must act now to protect themselves to minimize the long-term damage. Based on a combination of guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and suggestions from Pulmonologists at Jagiellonian University Medical College, the following four steps can help you to act now.
Step 1: Be Informed
Step 2: Protect Your Home
Step 3: Be Smart Outdoors
Step 4: Do your part
To learn more about the steps read the article in Krakow Post: http://www.krakowpost.com/10935/2016/01/krakow-smog-crisis-4-steps-to-protect-yourself