I have asthma, so I did my STEAM project on the effects air quality and common pollutants have on asthma and some important tips for managing asthma symptoms and attacks when air quality is poor. Asthma can be triggered by exposure to air pollutants, and long-term subjection to poor-quality air can cause permanent damage in the lungs or a heightened sensitivity to irritants. Especially during outdoor activities, people with asthma should learn to take air quality and pollutant levels into account before venturing out on any adventures.

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  1. Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing which results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. Air pollution plays an essential role in asthma. Air pollutants can trigger asthma causing asthma attacks. What is an asthma attack? An asthma attack occurs when a person’s airways become inflamed or swollen. A person begins with wheezing, coughing and/or having trouble breathing due to the airways contracting and producing excess mucus. There are different types of asthma attacks, along with treatments. Mild asthma attacks are one example. The normal treatment is a rescue inhaler. It causes the muscles around the person’s airways to relax, which opens the airways back up. For people with more severe asthma, they use a “steroid maintenance” inhaler which is taken regularly unlike the rescue inhaler. However, if a rescue inhaler is used too often it may lose the effectiveness whereas “steroid maintenance” does not. Exposure to air pollutants have been shown to trigger asthma. Prolonged exposure can seven cause injury in the airways. Over time, the lungs may begin functioning less effectively causing a lot more asthmatic responses. No matter the medications or inhalers, a person with asthma has to be very careful during outdoor activities or where air pollution is high. Fairbanks air quality is suboptimal according to Liliana, who also has to deal with asthma everyday. Depending on the year, some are better than others. In 2019 when we had many wildfires the smoke was so thick she couldn’t go outside for a month. Now that I have experienced quarantine due to Covid, I could not imagine having to stay in the house due to air pollution or forest fires. After reading Liliana’s Steam Project, I have learned a lot more about Asthma and the role air pollutants play in it. This was a great essay, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Jovonna McCormick

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