Community

Air Quality Alert Issued Due to Ozone

May 29, 2018

May 27, 2018

(ABC 6 News) — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air quality alert for the several cities in the state including Albert Lea, Rochester, Mankato, and surrounding areas.

Air quality is expected to worsen Monday to unhealthy levels. Sunny skies, hot temperatures, and light winds will combine to cause an increase in ground-level ozone. This is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

If you have asthma or other breathing conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema will be strongly impacted.

According to officials the following may also be affected by unhealthy levels of ozone in the air:

  • Children and teenagers
  • People of all ages who are doing extended or heavy, physical activity like playing sports or working outdoors
  • Some healthy people who are more sensitive to ozone even though they have none of the risk factors. There may be a genetic base for this increased sensitivity

Officials also stated that these unhealthy ozone levels can aggravate lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, and COPD.

When the air quality is unhealthy, people with these conditions may experience symptoms like difficulty breathing deeply, shortness of breath, throat soreness, wheezing, coughing, or unusual fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms use your inhalers as directed and contact your healthcare provider.

Everyone should take precautions when the air quality is unhealthy.

  • Take it easy and listen to your body.
  • Limit, change or postpone your physical activity.
  • If possible, stay away from local sources of air pollution like busy roads and wood fires.
  • If you have asthma, or other breathing conditions like COPD, make sure you have your relief/rescue inhaler with you.
  • People with asthma should review and follow guidance in their written asthma action plan. Make an appointment to see your health provider if you don’t have an asthma action plan.

Pollution reduction tips: Ozone is produced on hot, sunny days by a chemical reaction between volatile organic compounds and oxides of nitrogen.

  • Reduce vehicle trips and fill-up the gas tank at dawn or dusk.
  • Encourage use of public transport, or carpool, when possible.
  • Postpone use of gasoline powered lawn and garden equipment on air alert days. Use battery or manual equipment instead.
  • Avoid backyard fires.