July 19, 2013

Avoid Breathing Problems When It’s Hot

The 3 H’s of summer – heat, haze and humidity – make it difficult for many folks to breath: the very young or old (especially those with heart or lung problems) and anyone with allergies or asthma. Use these simple tips to help prevent breathing troubles before they start:

  • Check your AQI. The Air Quality Index (part of most newspaper and TV weather reports) measures 5 sneezy pollutants that can leave you wheezing: ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particular matter. The AQI runs from 0 to 500. Up to 50 is good, up to 100 is OK. The higher your AQI, the smarter it is to stay indoors with the AC running; it filters your air.
  • Do indoor activities in the A.M. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the early hours and on hot, dry days.
  • Go outside after it rains. Rain washes away a lot of pollen. But stay in if you’re allergic to mold spores; they increase after a rain shower.
  • Shower and change. If you have to go out during the day, take a shower after you get back, put on fresh clothes  and toss worn ones in the laundry to get rid of pollen and pollutants.
  • Be extra careful about asthma medications. Even if you have no symptoms most of the time, polluted air can trigger sudden, scary flare-ups.

To get today’s Air Quality Index for the Louisville and surrounding area, visit airnow.gov/index.cfm and click on Kentucky on the map.

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