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Air pollution, an often overlooked environmental issue, has been found to worsen Covid-19 symptoms to the point of making patients feel like they’ve aged by a decade. A recent Belgian study revealed that those exposed to polluted air prior to falling ill with Covid-19 stayed in the hospital four days longer, equivalent to the experience of patients ten years their senior.
Source: ABC7 News Bay Area/Youtube
The study also discovered that higher levels of air pollution in patients’ blood corresponded with a 36% increase in the need for intensive care. Interestingly, these impacts were observed even when air Pollution levels were within the legal EU limits.
Unlike earlier research that lumped people together, this study followed individual patients, providing more confidence in the results. It reaffirms the known risks of air Pollution, such as increased lung inflammation, weakened immune defenses, and the exacerbation of pre-existing lung conditions.
The findings highlight the urgent need to reduce air pollution in the fight against not only Covid-19 but future respiratory disease outbreaks. The benefits of cleaner air were found to be nearly as significant as some medical treatments given to Covid-19 patients.
“Reducing air Pollution, even at low levels, boosts population health and resilience against future pandemics,” said Prof Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium. Similarly, Dr. Zorana Jovanovic Andersen, senior author of a related Danish study, stressed that curbing air Pollution should be central to preventive measures for pandemics and seasonal flu.
The findings from these studies send a clear signal: tackling air Pollution is crucial for safeguarding our health. Despite this evidence, air quality standards in many cities worldwide, including several in Europe, still exceed safe levels. These findings underscore the need for global action against air Pollution for the well-being of all.
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