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Ozone Alerts–Are You Paying Attention?

Posted on September 11, 2014
by Wendy Stackhouse

Today marks the 8th Spare the Air Alert this summer in the Bay Area. That means ozone pollution is particularly high and residents are being asked to limit driving and other activities that result in ozone-producing pollutant emissions.

“In the Bay Area, the summer Spare the Air season generally runs from April through October when clear skies, hot temperatures, lighter than usual winds, and strong temperature inversions combine to create smoggy conditions.  Spare the Air Alerts are declared for days forecast to have ozone concentrations that exceed federal health-based standards.” SparetheAir.org

Potential Health Effects of Ozone

  • Children – Kids’ lungs are still developing and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Ozone can trigger asthma attacks and bring on asthma in healthy children.
  • Seniors – Adults, especially those with breathing issues or smokers, can be especially sensitive to ozone. It can make bronchitis and emphysema worse.
  • For even healthy people ozone can:

Make it harder to take deep breaths when you exercise

Cause sore throats and coughing

Create scarring in lungs and air passages

Damage lungs even when there are no symptoms

Ozone has also been linked to deaths from heart attacks that might have been survivable on days with better air quality.

Ozone is highest on hot, sunny days between April and October. If you are sensitive to ozone or have lung problems, you should check on your air quality before exercising outdoors. Today, for example, is not a good day for someone with asthma or other lung sensitivities to do outdoor activities in the Bay Area.

You can check your local air quality at AirNow.gov and know the best–and the worst–days to breathe deep outdoors.

And if you need help improving the air quality indoors, AirTek offers duct cleaning, HVAC maintenance and many other services to improve the indoor air quality where you live.

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