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Is a dusty house unhealthful?

Large amounts of inhaled dust can damage your lungs permanently. When a germ gets into your body, cells called stimulatory macrophage rush to attack the germ. Your body produces chemicals that cause blood vessels to widen and fluid to leak into the area to cause swelling, pain and redness. Then when the germs are conquered, suppressor macrophage stop the reaction. Normal lungs contain ten times as many suppressor macrophage as stimulatory ones. In people who have inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis, the ratio is only three to one.

When people are exposed to common house dust, suppressor cells die, in effect removing the brakes on swelling and redness. Living or working in a place that is full of house dust can cause lung damage in healthy people. Those who have chronic lung disease such as asthma or chronic bronchitis should try to keep their exposure to house dust as low as possible.

Checked 4/2/18

May 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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