Monday, April 30, 2012

Air Quality Awareness Week

April 30th through May 4th is national Air Quality Awareness Week. For anyone who has asthma, any lung disease, diabetes, or a cardiovascular problem, the enviroflash website is useful online resource that will warn you about air quality problems that are expected in the Philadelphia area. I subscribe to the service. Once a day, it tells you - via email or Twitter - what's expected in terms of both ozone and particulates, the two major culprits for anyone who needs clean air.

It helps me plan my days. For example, if I see that tomorrow's air quality is expected to be poor (orange or red or purple), I'll plan to exercise at the Y or do calisthenics in my apartment rather than bicycling on the Schuylkill Valley Bike Path. I'll avoid walking on busy streets, because the cars and trucks spew particulates into the air on those streets in addition to whatever is already in the air. If ozone is the predicted problem, I'll avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day when possible. I pay particular attention to how my lungs feel throughout the day, and take extra meds if necessary early on, rather than risk an emergency room visit that night or the next day.

If I see that the forecast is good — clean air days are indicated in green on the report, I heave a small sigh of relief and realize that I'm likely to be better off. I find it useful and would recommend it highly to anyone who wants to track the air quality in our area.

Jeanette MacNeille

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