How to minimise the impact of pollution on your health
Air pollution in Krakow is a major issue, especially in winter when people are using heating systems that emit smoke. Krakow is in a basin and strong winds are rare. In winter the pollution can be smelt on the air and the number of cars is ever on the increase. We may feel that inside the house the air is cleaner, but in actual fact it is the same and even worse than the air outdoors as the cleansing breeze that may bring cleaner air into the city cannot penetrate the house.
In October 2013 World Health Organization declared air pollution to be one of the planet’s most dangerous environmental carcinogens. The vehicle emissions are thought to include an unusually high proportion of very small, or ultra fine, particles, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the body. Among main air pollutants are nitrogen oxides—the so-called ‘NOx ‘— and ozone, which cause irritation of respiratory tract and eyes, coughs, lung infections and asthma. As for particles emitted by vehicles, heating or agriculture, there is a real concern for what are referred to as ‘PM 2.5’—which is short for particles 2.5 millionths of a meter in diameter. Indeed, their small size allows them to penetrate deeply into the lungs. They can reach as far as the blood circulation system, thus enhancing cardiovascular risk. Furthermore,they combine with organic compounds and become potentially carcinogenic. According to the leading Lung Associations around the world, human lungs can get permanently damaged due to prolonged exposure to air pollution and smog. The problems include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, eye and nose irritation, bronchitis, pneumonia, inflammation of pulmonary tissues, heart attacks, lung cancer, increased asthma-related symptoms, fatigue, heart palpitations, and even premature ageing of the lungs and even death, so download your anti-smog survival guide today.