Will Air Pollution Greatly Affect Your Health? Are You At Great Risk?

You can use the Air Quality Index to learn if you need to spend less time outdoors.


In observance of Air Quality Awareness Week, Patch is posting information on air quality, what you can do to help improve the air we breathe and more. Is there something you want to know? Ask in the comments section below and we'll do our best to find the answer. Also check out an article on whether carpooling could be an option for you. 

Smog, or ozone, and particle pollution pose health risks to hundreds of thousands of Americans, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency — are you one of those at increased risk? Check out this list from the EPA to see. 

  • Children, including teenagers, are at greater risk from air pollution because their lungs are still developing, they are more likely to be active outdoors and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Both ozone and particle pollution can prevent children’s lungs from working and developing like they should.  Children are also more likely than adults to have asthma, which also increases their risk.
  • People with asthma or another lung disease are at risk from both ozone and particle pollution, which can increase symptoms like coughing and wheezing and can lead to a trip to the doctor or hospital.
  • Healthy adults who are active outdoors are at risk from ozone, which can make it more difficult to breathe deeply, cause symptoms such as coughing or scratchy throat, and inflame and damage the lining of the lungs, damage that can continue even after symptoms are gone.
  • People with cardiovascular disease are at risk from particle pollution, which can contribute to heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure and premature death. Ozone can also harm the heart. And both pollutants can increase the risk for premature death.
  • People who are middle age and older. As we hit middle age, our risk for heart and lung diseases generally increases — and so does our risk from ozone and particle pollution. Factors that increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, such as being overweight, having diabetes or having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, also may increase your risk from particle pollution. 

If you are at increased risk for health problems related to air quality, you can use the Air Quality Index to adjust your outdoor activities. Click here to view today's air quality forecast for the metro Atlanta area and check back with Patch regularly by using the "Search" box in the upper right corner — simply type in "today's air quality forecast," click the magnifying glass icon and, in the search results, click the article with that title. 

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