Summer, Ozone and My Asthma

BY ON June 29, 2017

Woman standing in field

Have you noticed weather forecasts calling for more ozone alert days? I keep a close eye on these alerts because I have asthma.

Ozone naturally occurs in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When ozone is found near the Earth’s surface, it is called ground-level ozone. This is a problem because ozone is a harmful air pollutant.

Ground-level ozone, or smog, is harmful for everyone. But for children, the elderly, people who work outside, and people with respiratory conditions, ozone is particularly dangerous.

Since I have asthma, I fit into this high-risk category. On ozone alert days, I avoid being outside. (Tweet this) I also live in Oklahoma and we have pretty hot summers. These high temperatures are a factor that increases the likelihood of an ozone alert. This summer has already been tough, as I’ve been having more asthma attacks. Sadly, I can’t spend much time outside.

Here’s why ozone alerts are issued:

  • Temperature
  • Cloud cover
  • Build-up of emissions in the air
  • Wind speed and direction

Visit AirNow to find out about ozone alerts in your area. This important site is run by the EPA, which must be protected because so many families need to know when it is safe to be outside and when to decrease exposure to ozone.

There are also things we can do to help reduce activities that cause pollution ozone alert days.

  • Limit driving. Put off errands that can wait, carpool, use public transportation, and combine trips you do need to make.
  • Refuel vehicles and lawn equipment in the evening when the air is cooler and ozone is less likely to form.
  • Avoid idling. Vehicle idling emits more pollution than restarting a warm motor.
  • Avoid lawn mowing with a gas mower. Mow in the evenings. Battery powered or push mowers a better choice.
  • Reduce energy. Set air conditioners at a higher temperature, turn of lights when not in use, air dry your dishes instead of using heat dry, line dry your clothes.
  • Avoid burning trash, leaves, and other materials.

We’re all living on this planet together, and when follow simple steps to reduce the occurrence of ozone alert days, we can all breathe easier.

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TOPICS: Air Pollution, Heat and Extreme Weather, Oklahoma, Ozone