Outdoor Air - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Outdoor Air

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5000 Canadians die annually from air pollution - the brownish or yellowish haze most evident on warm sunny days - according to Environment Canada. The most vulnerable are kids, because their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air than adults; the elderly because of the compromised immune systems; asthmatics and others with lung disease; and anyone with heart problems.

According to the Ontario Medical Association's report, "The Illness Costs of Air Pollution In Ontario" (2000), smog causes 1920 deaths per year, 9800 hospital admissions, 13,000 emergency room visits, 47 million lost work days. Approximate conservative cost estimate to the Ontario economy is $1 billion.

As many as 5 million tons of latex particles wear off tires in the United States each year. The Denver Allergy Institute discovered that tiny black particles flake off from tires and are thrown into the air by motorists. The latex particles have been increasingly associated with many medical conditions such as asthma, skin rashes, etc. The heightened irritation might explain why asthma has become increasingly prevalent and severe since the use of radial tires, which flake off in smaller, more readily inhaled particles than previous tires.

Poor air worsens conditions for those with allergies, asthma, lung disease and chronic infections. Studies have shown that pollution doesn't actually cause asthma. It just makes a bad situation worse. People exposed to a lot of outdoor air pollution are more likely to suffer from other lung ailments, such as chronic bronchitis. True asthma initiators, which provoke an inflammatory condition in the lungs, tend to be some of same things that trigger allergies. And these allergens can be found indoors -- at home and work.

Lung disease claims close to 335,000 lives in America every year and is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

One in 5 Canadians has some form of respiratory problem.

According to Asthma Society of Canada .....Asthma kills 500 Canadians every year. As many as 1 in 5 children have been diagnosed with asthma.

More women than men have asthma - 8.5% of Canadian women, compared to 7.2% men. Women's symptoms develop later in life.

Almost twice as many women as men die from asthma, according to Statistics Canada. Asthma can start at any age. Boys usually start wheezing on the playground, while girls are more likely to come down with their first symptoms in their teens or early 20's.

Asthma can also start later in life if person is exposed to a lot of smoke or chemicals at work or home.

Only 25-40% of asthmatics ever get diagnosed.

Up to 70% of asthmatics also suffer from allergies, which can play a role in bringing on their symptoms.

Some studies suggest that asthma rates may also be driven up by another aspect of modern living: fewer childhood infections. Vaccines and antibiotics have been responsible for a decline in childhood infections - and that's a good thing. But some researchers now suspect that many of these once-common infections played a crucial role in training young immune systems to combat foreign microbes. Without real microbes to fight, it's possible the immune system may be crusading against the measly mite and cat dander.