As temperatures in Phoenix rise, residents could be at risk for health complications due to increased air pollution. This weekend, the air quality is predicted to be at level “Orange,” which means it can be unhealthy for certain groups, including seniors, children, active adults, and people with lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The poor air quality is due to an increase in ozone pollution, which is the result of high temperatures combined with pollution from vehicle emissions, factories, and other sources. Often called "smog," ozone pollution is harmful to breathe. This situation is currently compounded by wildfire smoke from California drifting into Arizona.
American Lung Association offers these tips to avoid lung irritation and health complications:
Take precautions for kids: Extra precaution should be taken for children, who are more susceptible to pollution. Their lungs are still developing and they breathe in more air (and consequently more pollution) per pound of body mass than adults. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
Roll up your car windows: When driving your car in on days with bad air quality, keep your windows and vents closed. Vehicle air conditioning should only be operated in the "recirculate" setting.
Put air conditioners on recirculate: People with lung disease or heart conditions should stay inside on bad air quality days as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut, and preferably with clean air circulating through air conditioners and air cleaners. Use air conditioners on the recirculation setting to keep from pulling outside air into the room.
Don't exercise outside: On days where ozone pollution is high, active children and adults, and people living with lung disease should reduce prolonged exercise outdoors.
Reduce your own air pollution: When the air quality is bad, consider postponing mowing the yard, using a charcoal grill, or making unnecessary trips in your vehicle. It just adds to the air pollution.
Check on your loved ones with lung disease: Call or text your loved ones who live with lung disease to make sure they are safe and healthy on days with high air pollution.
For the public: more information about air quality and air pollution as well as more tips are available here, and further lung health info can be found at Lung.org
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.