Air Pollution Facts



Air pollution is a hidden killer. According to Friends of the Earth 40000 premature deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution and days lost from work and medical interventions costs our economy £20 billion annually (more than obesity and alcohol-related illness). The main culprit is vehicle exhaust emissions and recent reports of auto-companies ‘cheating’ air pollution tests is particularly distressing. Polluted air can cause allergic reactions such as asthma, as well as problems with congestion in the nose, sinuses, lungs and bronchi. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible, especially in our towns and cities where the air is becoming increasingly toxic. Polluted air can also contribute to a greater risk of heart disease and lung cancer, and has even been associated with changes in the brain linked to dementia. It is a major contributor to global warming.

Some facts from Wikipedia:

Air pollution banding Value Health messages for At-risk individuals Health messages for General population
Low 1–3 Enjoy your usual outdoor activities. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
Moderate 4–6 Adults and children with lung problems and adults with heart problems who experience symptoms should consider reducing strenuous physical activity particularly outdoors. Enjoy your usual outdoor activities.
High 7–9 Adults and children with lung problems and adults with heart problems should reduce strenuous physical exertion particularly outdoors and particularly if they experience symptoms. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Older people should also reduce physical exertion. Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity particularly outdoors.
Very High 10 Adults and children with lung problems adults with heart problems and older people should avoid strenuous physical activity. People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often. Reduce physical exertion particularly outdoors especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat.

Pep-Thyme is a new product made from the aromatic herbs peppermint and thyme, both of which contain volatile oils known to aid easy breathing and to help mitigate the negative effects that air pollution has on the human body. The capsules may also be taken apart and used to make a hot drink – inhaling the steam will deliver the volatile components directly through the nasal passages to the lungs and help reduce bronchial and upper respiratory catarrh.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is rich in the volatile oils thymol and carvacrol which possess an antimicrobial and antiseptic action. Thyme has traditionally been used by herbalists to treat bronchitis and asthma where its relaxing and antispasmodic action on the lungs and bronchi reduces coughing and wheezing. Its expectorant action increases the production of a more fluid mucus, ensuring a productive cough. Thymol is also believed to stimulate the immune system. According to the medieval herbalist Culpeper, thyme is ‘a noble strengthener of the lungs, …. nor is there a better remedy growing for whooping cough. It purgeth the body of phlegm and is an excellent remedy for shortness of breath….”

Peppermint (Mentha piperata) is rich in the volatile oil menthol, which soothes the respiratory tract and is also an effective decongestant and antihistamine.

The Air Quality Index is used by the government to communicate current levels of air pollution and to forecast how polluted it is likely to become. During periods of poor air quality sensitive individuals should avoid over-exertion and may wish to remain indoors. The most commonly used air quality index in the UK is the Daily Air Quality Index. To check air quality in your area (or elsewhere in the world) at any given time you should visit the Air Quality Index website.

The above information is for guidance only, and is not intended to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified practitioner. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking any other medication, you should seek advice from a health professional. Excessive internal use of thyme can lead to over-stimulation of the thyroid gland and therefore should be taken only under medical advice by people with thyroid problems. Peppermint can reduce milk flow, so should be taken with caution whilst breastfeeding. Always adhere to the recommended dose.




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