Why You Probably Need to Wear a Mask

In this crucial health update, Dr. Okenye highlights the severe long-term effects of carbon monoxide exposure and emphasizes the importance of wearing masks and taking preventive measures to protect against air pollution.

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Hello, my village people. It’s Dr. Okenye, your village doctor. Today I want to talk about air pollution and wearing a mask. Some of you are exposed to this day in, day out as you commute from your house to your workplace. You come home tired with severe unexplainable headaches and muscle aches and pains for no reason. Carbon monoxide is a common pollutant we inhale day in, day out.

Read Okenye’s post on Cholera in Nigeria: Understanding Your Risk and Simple Treatment Options and Sweat vs. Spirits: The Powerful Interplay of Exercise and Alcohol on Your Health 

Here are 4 long-term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  1. Brain damage: Neurological complications like memory loss, tremors, and speech difficulties can occur during the time of carbon monoxide poisoning or at a later time.
  2. Peripheral arterial disease: This may be secondary to endothelial damage to the blood vessels, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and narrowing of the vessels.
  3. Heart failure: Studies have shown that people who have been exposed to carbon monoxide have a higher risk of developing congestive heart failure, especially in the first month after exposure. This increased risk can persist for years.
  4. Pneumonia and Pulmonary edema: These can occur due to low oxygenation in the lungs.

For these reasons, when you are commuting in a polluted area or without air conditioning, be sure to consider wearing a blue filter mask. You can also install an air purifier and a CO alarm in your home.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new medication or treatment. This publication and authors does not endorse or recommend any specific medication and is not liable for any adverse effects from the use of this information. You can learn more about Dr. Emmanuel Okenye.

Emmanuel Okenye

Dr. Emmanuel Okenye, DO is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences/College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific. He is ABIM board-certified and practices both outpatient at Evergreen Family Medicine and inpatient at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Oregon.

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