NBC aired an episode of it’s hit series This Is Us after the Superbowl on Sunday, February 4th, that stunned fans. The show has spent two seasons leading up to Jack Pearson’s ultimate demise. And just when you are begging them to pull the bandaid off quickly, they do… And it still hurts!
So why are we all bemoaned about Jack’s death? (I’m looking at you crockpot!)
That’s because in the last of episode in Jack’s life, he heroically saves his family from a house fire started by none other than everyone’s favorite kitchen appliance. He manages to run back in and save the family dog and salvage a photobook from the flames, also.
He gets to the hospital and is presumably okay. And just when it seems like he’s going to be allowed to get up and go home in no time, he dies of a widowmaker heart attack.
Widowmakers get their name because they are almost always fatal. And Jack Pearson is no exception. But where did this heart condition come from?
Is it possible for smoke inhalation to cause a heart attack the likes of This is Usor is this another example of Hollywood taking liberties?
Get the Facts About Smoke Inhalation
Smoke inhalation occurs when someone inhales the product of combustion.
Typically, this includes chemicals and gases that occur during a fire. There’s no way to predict the exact chemical composition or makeup of natural gases in a house fire. A lot of that depends on how hot is the fire, what is burning and how much oxygen is available.
What is known is that inhaling smoke can cause death or injury. One common way death can occur is by asphyxiation.
When a fire consumes all of the oxygen in a given area, there’s none left to breathe. Another problem is carbon dioxide is produced and that takes up space in the lungs that could otherwise be using to breathe oxygen.
But what happened to Jack was more complicated, as he did not asphyxiate in the house fire. So what gives?
Smoke inhalation can also cause injury to the lung area, like burns, chemical irritation and ash and soot in the airways that apply stress on someone who is trying to breathe regularly after being in a fire.
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) cite when air pollution rises, so do instances of heart disease and heart attacks. The group asserts pulmonary inflammation and oxidative stress are the leading cause for this trend. Certainly, these are things Jack could have experienced under the conditions of the episode.
Here are a few findings from the PSR group’s study of air pollution:
- During times when particulate matter is high, more people go to the hospital for heart attacks
- Rise in concentration of air pollutants correlate with hospital admissions for irregular heart rhythm
- This can occur from short bursts of exposure, like a house fire, or long-term exposure
Given these facts, it’s perfectly reasonable to think Jack’s widowmaker heart attack could have been caused by pollutants he breathed in during the fire.
And we don’t know for sure, but Jack may have had some of the hallmarks of heart disease already, which would have been exasperated by the stress of inhaling so much smoke.
Prevent Air Pollutants in Your Home
There are a few fire safety tips you should remember if you ever find yourself in a horrific situation like the Pearson family:
- Check your smoke detectors
- Unplug your appliances
- Don’t run back into a burning home
But even if you never experience a catastrophic house fire, you can prevent exposure to air pollutants in your home. Many of these solutions to air pollution in the home, we’ve written about before:
- Keep plants in the home that absorb harmful chemicals
- Employ other holistic solutions, but don’t expect the same results as using an air purifier
- Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter
- Use natural products in lieu of chemicals
Sollievo is a leading producer of natural goods and air purification products for the home. To learn more about how Sollievo can help you keep your home safe from harmful chemicals, click here.
And if you’re thinking about throwing away your crockpot in a show of solidarity over Jack Pearson’s death, actor Milo Ventimiglia reminds you that he is alive and well, and crockpots today are very safe.
And let’s face it, we all needed a good cry anyway.