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How Can College Students Protect Themselves From Air Pollution
As a young adult, you are exposed to plenty of challenges and risks that may affect one’s health and studies. One of them is air pollution. Air pollution is an environmental risk that results in a number of adverse health issues. It causes respiratory infections, lung cancer, and even heart diseases. Constant exposure to air pollutants can create severe impacts to one’s health. In fact, some studies even suggest that air pollution can affect how well, or how bad you perform in school.
There are plenty of areas where college students may be exposed to air pollution. You can experience it as you commute to school, inside the school premises or while you work outside school hours. Air pollution is everywhere. In fact, in 2020, a total of 68 million tons of pollution were emitted into the atmosphere in the United States alone.
So how can a college student protect themselves from the health impacts air pollution causes?
3 Habits to Protect Oneself from Air Pollution
There are several practices that can ensure that you are inhaling the cleanest air in your dorm, the campus and as well as outside your school premises. Here are some of the habits that you can adapt to protect oneself from the negative impacts of air pollution.
Be Mindful of the Air Quality
Pollution in the air can build up anywhere – both indoors and outdoors. Staying indoors does not necessarily protect you from air pollution either. Air can seep in through windows, doors, and other cracks in your dorm, school buildings and other structures that are not built to be airtight.
But how can you tell if the air quality you consume everyday is safe for your health? Air quality monitors can provide real-time indoor and outdoor air quality readings to help you stay informed on the airborne pollutants around you.
However, if your campus and classrooms do not provide such, you can always use a layer of protection to ensure that you are not being exposed to such pollutants. Consider wearing KN95-rated face masks to be able to avoid air pollution, indoors, especially while staying outdoors.
Refrain from Staying in Areas with Heavy Vehicle Traffic
The university parking lot, bus stops, school shuttle stops and the waiting area outside your campus are just some of the areas with high pollutant concentrations. Vehicle emissions are one of the main contributors to the pollutants that we have in our air right now.
In fact, car exhausts contain particles and tiny pollutants that can get directly into the bloodstream through inhalation. This puts you at risk for artery plaque build-ups that may cause pulmonary diseases. On top of these pollutants, car emissions also contain nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and hydrocarbons that are very dangerous to one’s health.
To avoid these, try not to linger in these public and high risk areas. If you are waiting for a ride, stand as far away from the roads as possible. You can also wear a face mask or at least cover your nose with a clean handkerchief while staying in such areas.
Stay Away from Smoking Areas
Although most campuses nowadays are banning the use of any form of tobacco products inside its promises, there are still some universities in the United States that prohibit the use of cigarettes and vapes. If your school happens to have a smoking area, stay as far away as possible.
We all know that second hand smoke contains tons of chemicals that can trigger the health to deteriorate. In fact, there are 69 chemicals found in tobacco products known to cause different types of cancer. Second hand smoke can also trigger allergies, asthma and other lung diseases. Vaping offers the same risks too. It can cause inflammation, stroke, diabetes and heart diseases. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke often experience severe effects that those who are constantly exposed to tobacco products.
Clean air gives you a clear mind and keeps you far from health risks and diseases. It is all up to you to adapt habits that will help protect yourself from air pollution and the diseases that come with it. By being more conscious and proactive with these preventive practices, you can maintain the strength and the health that you need to excel at school and as a young adult.
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