Today’s the day to start thinking about air quality.
What can you do? Pay attention to the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is a tool that tells you when high levels of air pollution are predicted and tells you how air pollution affects your health. Finding the AQI is easy. It’s on the Web, on many local TV weather forecasts, or you can sign up for free e-mail tools and apps. AQI is easy to use. If the AQI predicts a “Code Orange” (unhealthy for sensitive groups) day don’t cancel your plans—use the AQI to help you plan a better time or place for them.
The AQI tells you about five major air pollutants in the U.S. that are regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, including ozone and particle pollution. Ozone and particle pollution may harm the health of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.
Ozone and Particle Pollution
Let’s say that the ozone level where you live is predicted to be Code Orange tomorrow. If you’re a runner—even if you’re healthy—that air quality could hurt you. Using the AQI, you can plan your run for when ozone levels will be lower, shorten your run or walk instead, or run on a treadmill indoors.
Particle pollution has been linked to heart attacks and strokes, and even death in people with heart disease. On a day when particle pollution will be at Code Orange, do something less intense. Walk instead of run, or weed your garden instead of doing heavier work.
Use the AQI Wherever You Go
Don’t forget to check the AQI when you’re on vacation or travel. No matter where you go, you can always access the AQI.