HEALTH

Utah’s Bad Wintertime Air Creates Health Risks

Dec 10, 2018, 7:31 PM | Updated: 9:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The bad air is bad for all of us. That’s the message from the Heart and Lung Center at Intermountain Medical Center.

“There is no safe level of air pollution,” said Dr. Denitza Blagev, a pulmonologist at the Murray hospital.

While the very young, elderly and those with chronic health conditions are most at risk, Blagev warns that there can be more widespread health complications due to the pollution plaguing the Salt Lake Valley.

“Whether you have symptoms or not, air pollution is bad for you,” she said.

The wintertime temperature inversion traps vehicle emissions and other types of smog close to the valley floor. Breathing in those particles, Blagev said, can cause a person’s blood pressure to rise.

A bicyclist rides along North Temple in the fog and inversion on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

“The really fine particulates, those are such a small size that you breathe it in and it gets in the lungs and from there it goes into the blood stream,” Blagev said. “Those particles are what increases inflammation and actually increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Intermountain Medical Center said it usually takes several consecutive days of unhealthy air quality for doctors to see an increase in patients dealing with respiratory illnesses. That hasn’t happened so far this season.

“My asthma gets worse, sometimes I get pneumonia,” said Diana Handrahan about the effects of the inversion.

The Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City is all but lost in the fog and inversion on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

The Layton resident avoids exercising outside and wears a mask with a carbon filter when she does venture outside. Even so, she still feels tired and sick when the air quality reaches unhealthy levels.

“I just cough a lot, (and) have a hard time breathing,” Handrahan said. “My chest gets tight. I wheeze more.”

Blagev’s advice to residents is to pay attention to how they feel, regardless of what the air quality monitors indicate on any particular day.

“It’s more about, ‘Does this feel like a severe life-threatening problem?’ in which case it’s got to be checked out because it could be related to the inversion,” Blagev said. “It could be a bad asthma attack, or something like that, but it could be something else.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Health

Chickens, existing in their coup....
JOSH FUNK AP Business Writer

Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska

Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm. It's the latest sign that the outbreak has kept spreading after having already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the state's 13th case of bird flu was found on an egg-laying farm in northeast Nebraska's Dixon County. All the chickens on the Nebraska farm are being killed to limit the spread of the disease. Officials say the virus presents little risk to human health because human cases are extremely rare and infected birds aren't allowed into the nation's food supply.
1 day ago
Joan DuQuette and Amanda DuQuette-Roberts...
Ayanna Likens

South Jordan family is thankful for organ donation this Thanksgiving

A local family said they have a lot to be thankful for this year after their family member received a lifesaving kidney transplant, but this transplant actually saved more than just one life.
5 days ago
Baby Revie Moala in pajamas and a beanie....
Ashley Moser

Idaho family says Primary Children’s Hospital nurse was crucial in getting baby to breathe

For weeks the Moala's, who live in Rigby, Idaho, fought for doctors to run tests on baby Revie. Finally she was referred to Primary Children’s Hospital, where Revie was diagnosed with blindness in her right eye.
9 days ago
Home office...
Ayanna Likens

Parents are missing work at record levels due to sick kids

With RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 spreading across the nation, parents are missing work at an all-time high due to kids getting sick.
10 days ago
Thanksgiving feast...
Ayanna Likens

Taking food allergies into account this holiday season

As Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations bring people around the table, Intermountain Healthcare dietitians say it's crucial to take food allergies into consideration when planning the big meal.
10 days ago
air purifier...
Mike Anderson

Free air purifiers are available for Utah schools to help with dirty air, RSV

It doesn't take a website or a special device to see how dirty Utah's air can be. But some parents, like Brad Plotow, might notice it more than others.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Utah’s Bad Wintertime Air Creates Health Risks