Dealing with Smog and Heart Failure
We are lucky up in Lancashire where the Smog levels are not as intense as in more densely populated areas however due to the weather conditions we are still encountering smog.
This is what the government has said -
The UK government has issued a “smog alert” in England and Wales for ozone and polluting particles known as PM10s, which can affect people’s health. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said high levels of pollution were likely from Thursday and would continue over the Easter weekend.
It said the alert was due to warm and still conditions brought on by a high pressure system.Defra is urging the public to take “sensible precautions”.It said some people, including those who have asthma – and particularly the elderly – could be affected by the high pollution levels and may notice an impact on their breathing.
They advise people to avoid taking exercise outside in the afternoon if they are susceptible to the pollutants and not to take unnecessary short car journeys, to help reduce the amount of pollutants from exhausts. Defra said its freephone helpline – 0800 556677 – would give regular updates on the levels of particles, and also offer health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution. Cher Piddock, an Asthma UK adviceline nurse, said the smog warning was a “timely reminder” that the combination of warm weather and pollution could pose health risks. ”Around two-thirds of people with asthma say pollution triggers their condition, so Asthma UK recommends that people who have pollution as a trigger avoid going out if air quality is poor,” she said. This smog alert is a cause for concern but not for alarm. It’s the second highest of four threat levels and – no surprise – is triggered by a combination of high pressure, warm conditions and traffic pollution.
Among the pollutants are so-called PM10s – tiny particles ejected from exhaust pipes which, if inhaled, are known to exacerbate lung conditions. Most people shouldn’t experience any difficulties. But if you’ve got any kind of lung condition, like asthma, the advice is to be aware, avoid being out of doors for too long and turn to the inhaler if necessary. ”We also recommend that people always carry their inhaler, avoid exercising outdoors on hot days, especially in the afternoon, and keep windows shut whenever possible.”
- High pollution levels affect those with lung diseases – including asthma
- Elderly people in particular could see their systems worsen
- The British Lung Foundation said anyone with a lung condition should carry their medication as a precaution
- Children with asthma can still take part in games, but might need to take their medication first. They do not need to stay away from school
- People with a heart condition, who are also at risk, should seek medical advice if their symptoms change
Source: Defra, Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation
Therefore some key messages here and I know you may not like it but here we go -
- Don’t stay in the Sun or heat for prolonged periods of time
- Don’t get dehydrated – use a spray bottle to control your fluids
- Don’t exercise in the heat – take a chill pill there are always other days for exercise or the evening, your health is more important than your garden
- Try to stay at home for the environment and your health
- Make sure you have enough of your medication to last over the long Easter Weekend – don’t forget the Royal Wedding Weekend as well
Hope this helps – just use your common sense and if your symptoms change or get worse then contact a clinician straight away.
The Heart and cold weather
Just a couple of tips for you when the winter months are just around the corner.
The Winter seasons will bring cooler temperatures, and for some, ice and snow. It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease. People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.
How does cold weather affect the heart?
Many people aren’t conditioned to the physical stress of outdoor activities and don’t know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather. Winter sports enthusiasts who don’t take certain precautions can suffer accidental hypothermia.
Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can’t produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.
Children, the elderly and those with heart disease are at special risk. As people age, their ability to maintain a normal internal body temperature often decreases. Because elderly people seem to be relatively insensitive to moderately cold conditions, they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they’re in danger.
People with coronary heart disease often suffer angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort) when they’re in cold weather. Some studies suggest that harsh winter weather may increase a person’s risk of heart attack due to overexertion.
Besides cold temperatures, high winds, snow and rain also can steal body heat. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. At 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a 30-mile wind, the cooling effect is equal to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.
To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, wear a hat or head scarf. Heat can be lost through your head. And ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they tend to lose heat rapidly.
Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before going outdoors or when outside. Alcohol gives an initial feeling of warmth, because blood vessels in the skin expand. Heat is then drawn away from the body’s vital organs.