According to a study published by German researchers at Martin-Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg, nitrogen dioxide pollution could explain certain cases of excess mortality linked to COVID-19.
Air pollution has long been known to cause chronic lung disease and degenerate general health by increasing the risk of both cancer and heart and lung disease.
A recent study by German researchers believes that it may also contribute to the dangerous of COVID-19. Explanations.
Corona Virus Mortality Correlated with Air Pollution
Researchers have studied COVID-19-related deaths in several European countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. They then compared this data to the geographic location of air pollution, notably NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) pollution.
Results? They find a significant correlation between the areas with the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities and the areas with the highest air pollution.
Researchers conclude that NO2 pollution is likely to be an aggravating factor making COVID-19-related disease more dangerous and more deadly.
Air Pollution and Corona Virus: Correlation, Causation
However, one must be careful with such a study. It indeed identifies a correlation (COVID-19 kills more where air pollution is high), but without demonstrating causation, that is to say without demonstrating that it is this pollution which is responsible for the excess mortality observed. It is, therefore, possible that these results can be explained by another factor.
For example, it is possible that the areas with the highest mortality are the same as the areas with the highest pollution because this is simply where the highest population concentrations are found. Or quite simply because this is where epidemic foci most easily developed because the population densities were high there.
To confirm these results, additional studies should confirm them. But one thing is certain: air pollution creates chronic inflammatory reactions in the respiratory and pulmonary systems. However, we now know that mortality from COVID-19 is sometimes caused by an exaggerated immune reaction, which can be amplified by chronic inflammation.
It is possible that air pollution weakens lung health in the long term and therefore makes it more difficult for the immune system to defend itself against the virus.
5 Tips to Limit Indoor Air Pollution in Your Home
So how do you limit this pollution and take care of the air quality at home? Here are 5 simple tips.
1. Regularly Ventilate Your Home to Limit Pollution
The first step for accommodation with healthy indoor air: ventilation. This harmless little gesture does a lot to preserve the air quality of your home: it allows the evacuation of suspended particles and circulates the air. One might think that it is better to keep the windows closed, especially when you live in the city to avoid pollution linked to car traffic…
But in general, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. Airing is therefore often a positive gesture to reduce the pollution of your home, even if you live in a relatively polluted city center.
Studies recommend ventilating about ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening, to allow you to regularly renew the air in your accommodation. Also, think about ventilation inside your home: air must circulate between rooms to prevent pollutants from stagnating. So leave the doors open as much as possible or make sure the openings under the doors are clear. The same goes for ventilation systems which must be regularly maintained.
2. Fight Against Indoor Air Humidity
Humidity is an important factor in indoor air pollution in homes. A damp dwelling accumulates more pollutants, and in addition, it is an ideal environment for the development of molds. Measure the humidity in your home and take action to reduce it if it is too high!
Housing should ideally be between 40 and 60% humidity. If you exceed these thresholds too much, consider ventilating more regularly to evacuate the humidity, or invest in a room dehumidifier which will absorb the excess humidity.
3. Choose Healthier Products and Equipment for Your Indoor Air
Many household products and equipment contribute to indoor air pollution in homes.
Sofas, furniture, cleaning products, plastics … Many products used in everyday life contribute to emitting volatile organic compounds and other pollutants. To avoid this, as far as possible choose furniture made of natural materials, without synthetic paints and glues rich in volatile chemical compounds. For your cleaning products, it’s the same thing: you can favor the most natural products like black soaps, rather than complex cleaning products which often contain many polluting compounds.
4. Maintain Your Devices to Limit Pollution
Also remember to properly maintain your household appliances, because they can contribute to polluting the indoor air of your homes. Ovens, ventilation, RO water purifiers, heaters, boilers: all can emit polluting gases or fine particles if they are poorly maintained. It is necessary to regularly clean the ventilation systems, to have its boiler or its air conditioning system checked annually, also to clean cooking appliances or devices using gas.
Only regular maintenance can ensure the proper functioning of these devices and be sure that they contribute as little as possible to the pollution of housing.
5. Be Vigilant with Certain Polluting Activities
Finally, a little common sense helps limit the risks of pollution, especially when practicing certain risky activities. Cooking, for example, is a time when we enormously pollute the air inside our homes. Cooking in the oven, in the frying pan or grilling, for example, emit cooking fumes, dust linked to the combustion of gas or food, grease splashes … The same goes for DIY, especially when using paints or some surfaces are sawed, sanded or drilled.
In such cases, remember to ventilate well, or even perform certain tasks outdoors, especially those involving products rich in volatile organic compounds and various pollutants.