You’ve probably heard on the news when the weather man talks about an “Air Quality Alert” day, but what does that mean, and more importantly, is it safe to go outside?
Well the answer to that question is a little complicated.
First, let’s look at what an Air Quality Alert day means, the more you understand it, the more you can understand if it is safe for you and your family to head outside. Air Quality is determined by the amounts of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead, ozone and small particles in the air. The higher amounts of these things in the air, the worse the air quality.
For those with respiratory issues, such as asthma or bronchitis, air quality alert days can be super hard. It is best for people with breathing troubles to stay indoors as much as possible when the air quality is poor. Those who work or exercise outdoors should also use caution. It is recommended that children and seniors also stay indoors as much as possible during Air Quality Alert days as they are particularly vulnerable.
If you do plan on being outside during an Air Quality Alert day, watch out for chest pains, coughing, throat irritation, and airway inflammation, as these can be warning signs that your lungs could be getting damaged from the air.
There are a few ways you can help during Air Quality Alert days. Put off things like mowing the lawn or weed eating as small motors can add a lot of “stuff” to the air. Carpooling is also helpful because that means less cars on the road loading up the air with pollution, using public transportation is even better.
The good news is that the air quality typically improves after a rain and some wind since it pushes the air on to another area and out of our valley.
Remember, if you have respiratory issues, stay inside as much as possible on Air Quality Alert days. If you have outdoor activities planned, try to move them inside or reschedule. The best way to keep your lungs healthy is to stay out of the nasty air. Keep an eye on the news so you know when Air Quality Alert days are in effect.
Be safe everyone and breath easy!