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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Oh no, I lost my voice because of the pollution!

Mm, take a big deep breath!

We went up the canyon on Monday to try to breathe a little fresh air. Once we go up into the mountains, the air is clean and warm. We are in the middle of January yuck. The inversion. For those of you not surrounded by mountains, you are probably wondering what that is.

I live in a "bowl" or valley that is surrounded by mountains. The mountains trap the pollution and cold air. There is warm air above the valley, but the warm and cold air don't mix. Kind of like when you have a bottle of oil and vinegar salad dressing.You have two layers, and they don't like to stay mixed. You have to shake it up to mix the two.

Well, I am waiting for a storm to "shake up" our weather or "mix the two." Our air is "red" or unhealthy. And I can tell! At night, I have to keep my inhaler on my nightstand. I have been waking up several times a night and have needed to use my inhaler. I've never had to do that before! My chest is tight and my stomach hurts from coughing all the time. My friend helpfully pointed out that coughing can actually be a good abdominal workout! Ya, I guess. Other fun things that come with the inversion are a scratchy throat and watering eyes.

I am also losing my voice. It's worse in the morning, but sometimes it will come back by afternoon. My first thought when I woke up was, "Oh no! I can't talk!" Hubby's first thought was probably, "Oh ya! She can't talk!" Spoken like all funny husbands!

There's nothing I can do. Except stay inside. The Utah Asthma Program conducted a study that showed the relationship of air quality and asthma. People with asthma can handle an inversion for a few days (about 4.) Days 5-7 of an inversion showed an increase in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. I know how the people in the study feel! I am really having a hard time breathing. I can barely get through work. In fact, one of my co-workers had to be my voice yesterday, and facilitate a meeting for me since I can only whisper.

So, I'm stuck in the muck and hoping a storm comes in this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


  1. I am thrilled to have found your blog and even happier that I have been vindicated! I live in Reno and thought I had some dreaded flu bug since I had lost my voice for a week. Before I realized the inversion layer was the culprit.

    Thanks for the post. Vindication feels good. Stay healthy.

    1. I thought the same thing, I started out with a scratchy throat and thought it was just another cold. But the scratchy throat just stayed there-for a week and a half. No runny nose but several asthma attacks. Definitely not a cold. I would lose my voice every morning, but sometimes regain it by afternoon.

      Our pollution levels here was 4 times the recommended levels!!

      It's like becoming a smoker, that's how bad the damage was to our lungs. Not good!

      Hope you are doing better, our inversion finally cleared out!