What you need to know about air quality and ozone levels

Health

(WSYR-TV) — Everyone has heard an ‘air quality alert’ mentioned during a weather forecast. Now, a new study finds even people who are generally healthy may want to avoid being outdoors when air quality is poor.

People with certain conditions should take extra care. When heat and sunlight mix with exhaust from vehicles and other pollutants, ozone levels rise. Ozone is one of five types of pollutants considered when calculating air quality. 

High ozone can aggravate asthma, leading to coughing, wheezing or chest tightness. It also doesn’t help people who have allergies.

“For people exposed to ozone, there’s a bit of a lag effect. So, you may not realize in the moment that you’re in a high ozone time period. But then the next day or the following day, you can have actually heightened effects to allergies. The ozone primes you to being more allergic if you’re already allergic, said Dr. Sumita Khatri with Cleveland Clinic.

People with asthma should pay special attention to air quality and always carry their inhaler when an alert is issued.

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