Everyone wants to spend time outdoors in the summertime. The sunshine and warm temperatures lure people outside. However, for those individuals who suffer from asthma or other lung conditions, air pollution that peaks in the hot summer months, can make it difficult to enjoy the great outdoors.
Air pollution is a cocktail of particles and gases such as ozone, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide. When air pollution levels are high, it can negatively affect your health and make it difficult to breathe. Some effects of air pollution are minor and only last a short while. Others can be more severe and leave a lasting impact on your health.
Short-Term Health Effects
Some short-term health impacts of summer air pollution include asthma symptoms, respiratory irritation, lung infections, and an increase in emergency room visits.
Long-Term Health Effects
Exposure to air pollution can have a lasting effect on your overall health. These include:
- An increased risk of developing asthma symptoms
- An increased risk of pneumonia
- Reduced lung function, especially in small children
While air pollution is often considered a problem associated with big city living, wind and atmospheric changes can carry pollution long distances. Because of this, even rural areas are at risk.
Tips for Staying Healthy
Visit www.airhealth.ca to monitor the air quality health index. When air pollution or allergen levels are high in your area take the following steps to minimize detrimental health issues.
- Try to stay indoors in a cool, clean environment.
- Keep all doors and windows closed in your home and vehicle. This will help minimize the pollution that you breathe.
- Run Your air conditioner and make sure that your filters are replaced often.
- If you must be active, do so in a cool and comfortable indoor space.
- Avoid being outdoors during peak pollution hours. These include late afternoon as pollution levels increase with the heat of the day and rush hours when commuter traffic is heavy.
- Pollen levels tend to be highest on dry, sunny, windy days. You can check your area’s pollen report at The Weather Network. If you suffer from asthma or other breathing difficulties, avoid being outdoors when the pollen count is high.
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