Although the excessive heat of the summer months allows for beach days, BBQs, and playing outside, it is crucial to remain aware of the extraordinarily hot temperatures for health concerns. The relentless sunshine can create unsafe air quality conditions in many regions across the United States. Not only is it essential to remain aware of summer illnesses like heat stroke, but an extra precaution must be taken during the excruciating summer weather to avoid respiratory and cardiovascular problems related to unsafe air quality. Specifically, tropospheric ozone forms as a result of sunlight reacting with nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds. Therefore, the longer the sun shines throughout the day, the poorer the air can become. Sensitive groups are at severe risk during the summer, especially in densely populated/urban areas due to heightened emissions. Poor air quality is responsible for lung injury and possesses life-threatening outcomes. It is imperative to bear in mind that one should always attempt to lessen car emissions by consolidating trips, reduce the use of substances with chemical solvents, and to check air quality updates. The National Weather Service, partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency, produces daily air quality forecasts to protect the safety of people and the environment, so be sure to keep updated on your region’s ozone and smoke outlooks! A helpful resource for air quality is the EPA’s AirNow, which utilizes the AQI Index and is an easy-to-use tool to remain informed when it is (and when it is not) safe to spend time outdoors!
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©2017 Meteorologist Alexa Trischler