The lights and delights of a big metropolis can make for an exciting vacation. Who wouldn’t want to visit New York City to catch a Broadway show or consume some history and seafood in Boston?
Of course, you’ll experience more than the hustle and bustle of a teeming megalopolis while visiting. Your lungs will undoubtedly breathe some unhealthy air, too.
And the health risk rises significantly, a new study shows, even after a short city vacation or business trip.
Scientists have long since established the dangers of long-term exposure to pollution. But a study in the journal Neurology warns that the soupy air in large cities might increase the risk of having a stroke, and dying from one, after just five days of exposure.
The investigation conducted what is known as a meta-analysis of 110 observational studies spanning North and South America, Europe and Asia. That body of science examined more than 18 million ischemic [uh·skee·mick] stroke cases and a variety of common urban pollutants.
Ischemic stroke is caused by a blot clot that blocks an artery in the brain and is the most common type.
The study shows that stroke risk increased 28% when exposed to nitrogen dioxide, which is formed by the burning of fossil fuels. Traffic is a big contributor.
Carbon monoxide also is caused by the internal combustion engine, among other things. It increased stroke risk by 26%.
The American Lung Association suggests people limit their time outdoors in the city and consider wearing a mask when out strolling.
Either that or visit Yellowstone instead and hope Smokey Bear is doing his job. Wildfire smoke, it seems, is no walk in the park, either.