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Tuesday

Heat Wave

We're having a heat wave in the North East...even here in Rochester, NY. No, really, it can get hot here...sometimes it can snow here in July or at least be fifty degrees and rainy. We here in Rochester, NY complain when we get cool weather in the summer. Apparently we complain when it gets too hot as well. 

The weather man tells us that there is an Air Quality Alert and we're under attack by ozone. So, its not the heat, its not the humidity, its the ozone!

Below you'll find some of the research on ozone and your health...But lets make another point...air quality and ozone may also impact the responder. I think we'll include that in our PRE Habilitation plan and talk more about it in future posts and podcast episodes.

What does this all mean - well, here it is:

Air Quality Alert -  as defined by News 10 in Ohio Issued during times (usually on hot, summer days) when ground-level ozone and/or fine particle concentrations unexpectedly reach, or are approaching, unhealthy levels in your area based on monitored values. Sensitive groups are urged to limit their exposure outdoors.

The following is from a great website; AIR INFO NOW Consider the following selections from Air Info Now and check there for more details.
The properties that make ozone a powerful cleaner, disinfectant, and bleaching agent also make ozone dangerous to living tissues.
When it comes in contact with living tissues, like our lungs, ozone attacks and damages cells lining the airways, this causes swelling and inflammation.
Some have compared ozone's effect to a sunburn ... inside your lungs.
Other health effects include:
·         Irritation of the airway: a cough, an irritated throat, or an uncomfortable feeling in your chest.
·         Reduced lung function: you may not be able to breath as deeply or vigorously as you normally would.
·         Worsened Asthma: ozone can aggravate the effects of asthma (see Asthma below).
·         Potential health effects: ozone may aggravate the effects of emphysema and bronchitis, and may reduce the body's ability to fight infections in the respiratory system.


High ozone levels can affect anyone.
Some groups of people are particularly sensitive to ozone.
Sensitive Groups
·         Children
They spend more time outdoors, are more active, and their airways are not fully developed.
·         Adults exercising outdoors
Healthy persons engaged in physical activity breathe faster and more deeply. This increases the amount of ozone flowing into the lungs.
·         People with respiratory disease
Ozone can further irritate the airways of persons who already have diseases of the lung or airways.
 
Summertime can be ozone time.
First, there may be more ozone around. During the summer months high temperatures and bright sunshine lead to increased ozone formation. Second, people may spend more time outside engaged in physical activities.
Asthma and ozone.
Ozone can irritate the already sensitive airway of someone with asthma. When ozone levels are high, more asthmatics have asthma attacks that require a doctor's attention or the use of additional medication. One reason this happens is that ozone makes people more sensitive to allergens, which are the most common triggers for asthma attacks. (Allergens come from dust mites, cockroaches, pets, fungus, and pollen.) Also, asthmatics are more severely affected by the reduced lung function and irritation to the respiratory system caused by ozone. 


Referenced sites:
http://forecast.weather.gov/wwamap/wwatxtget.php?cwa=usa&wwa=Air%20Quality%20Alert
lhttp://www.10tv.com/live/content/weather/stories/story_weather_meanings.html
http://www.airinfonow.com/html/ed_ozone.html

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