Southern Maryland has an air quality problem, and it’s astonishing how very few people are talking about it. The lack of conversation surrounding this topic is doing a lot of harm to the local community.
As the problem intensifies, residents might have to deal with severe health issues. Right now, the degrading air quality across this part of America will soon make its people lose sleep.
Canada is currently dealing with its worst wildfire season on record. As reported by the BBC, the recent wildfires in the country have burned more than 20 million acres of land across the country. That’s 21 times above the average over the last ten years.
More than 483 wildfires are raging across Canada, and more than 250 of those fires are being deemed ‘out of control.’
In 1989, there were over 11,000 wildfires throughout Canada. This year, although the number is much smaller – 3,000 wildfires so far – they are much larger.
However, all this is happening in Canada. Then what do these wildfires have to do with the air quality in Southern Maryland?
Well, it turns out that the wildfires are producing smoke that’s reaching as far as Europe. Southern Maryland, too, is suffering because of the smoke generated from Canada’s recent wildfires.
CBS News reports that the smoke led to local authorities issuing a Maryland Code Red air quality alert in June this year. Wind conditions are pulling the smoke southward, and thus, Southern Maryland, other parts of Maryland, and the US, in general, are being affected. Experts believe this air quality drop will cause severe health problems, especially among those with existing respiratory problems.
According to IQAir, air quality across Maryland dropped between 2017 and 2019. Just this June, more frequent drops in air quality were noticed. There’s no fixed trend to this drop in quality; certainly, it’d be foolish to call it a one-time thing for Maryland.
The recent wildfires in Canada aren’t a one-time thing either. That means, under certain wind conditions, if there are similar wildfires in Canada in the coming years, Southern Maryland will have to suffer the same fate as it had to last month.
Among other issues, Southern Maryland’s deteriorating air quality points to another concern – hampering residents’ sleep, but how? Let’s find out.
Because of poor air quality, the air’s volume of pollutants like carbon dioxide increases. This accumulation leads to low levels of sleep efficiency as an increased amount of carbon dioxide in the air means your body is deprived of oxygen to burn energy and help you fall asleep. Things can get more trouble for those with sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea already struggle to get sufficient oxygen in their blood. Most people with sleep apnea turn to CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure – machines to help them manage this health problem. CPAP machines blow filtered air up the user’s nostrils, allowing them to breathe more comfortably and naturally.
As explained by Mattress Verdict, CPAP machines are regarded as the gold standard for treating sleep apnea and improving overall sleep quality. However, as the air gets increasingly polluted with carbon dioxide, many might have to rely on CPAP machines even while resting or taking a quick nap. The dependency on these devices might increase in Southern Maryland if the air quality continues to decline.
When the air quality is poor, it often contains pollutants such as dust, pollen, smoke, or chemicals, which can cause respiratory discomfort. These irritants can trigger allergies, asthma symptoms, and congestion, making breathing difficult while sleeping difficult. As a result, individuals may experience frequent awakenings, disrupted sleep patterns, and reduced sleep duration, leading to daytime fatigue and decreased cognitive functioning.
Breathing in polluted air can impact the overall quality of sleep. Fine particulate matter and volatile organic compounds in the air can enter the bloodstream and affect the brain, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation. These factors can disrupt the sleep cycle, impair sleep efficiency, and reduce the amount of deep and restorative sleep obtained.
Southern Maryland is passing one of its toughest times in dealing with air pollution. The wildfires in Canada might just have forced the situation out of control. Whether or not the region can recover from this situation is hard to predict. Only time will tell what’s next for this part of America.