Daredevil Evel Knievel once said, "I love the feeling of the fresh air on my face and the wind blowing through my hair." Well, it's hard to disagree on the virtue of fresh air.
This just in from a new study in Neurology: Particulate matter pollution — especially that containing ultra-small micron-sized bits — is a risk factor for stroke-related death in people hospitalized for stroke.
That study looked at the dangers associated with exposure to the smallest particulate pollutants. They come from on- and off-road vehicle exhausts, burning wood, heating oil or coal, and forest and grass fires.
Indoor sources include tobacco smoke from cigarettes and particulate matter from vaping and water pipes, cooking, burning candles or oil lamps, and fireplaces.
The researchers found that the smallest particulate matter invades the deepest parts of your lungs and gets into your bloodstream, where it creates inflammation and damages your cardiorespiratory system, upping your risk of dying from stroke.
How can you dodge the risks of fine particulate matter pollution?
• Check AirNow.gov for your area's air-quality reading.
• When there are alerts, avoid strenuous outdoor exercise. And stay clear of busy roads, where particulate matter is usually worse.
• Install whole house HEPA filters on your heating/cooling system or use room HEPA air filters.
• Wear an N95/KN95 face mask when outside on highly polluted days, especially if you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.