Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ozone Brief Details that can Help

Not all air-cleaning devices are appropriate for home use — some can be harmful to human health. The ARB recommends that ozone generators, air cleaners that intentionally produce ozone, not be used in the home. Ozone is a gas that can cause health problems, including respiratory tract irritation and breathing difficulty If your child has asthma, you probably understand triggers — those substances or activities that bring on breathing problems.
But what if the asthma trigger is in the air your child breathes? Ground-level ozone and other air pollutants can trigger worsening symptoms and asthma flare-ups. But you can help minimize your child's exposure.

Other Pollutants

Although ozone gets a great deal of press, it's not the only pollutant that causes poor air quality. In 2004, for the first time, the American Lung Association included not only ozone but particle pollution levels in its annual "State of the Air" report for the United States.
Particle pollution refers to tiny particles of acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), dust, dirt, smoke, soot, and droplets from aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. The smaller the particles, the deeper they can get into the lungs, where they cause problems.
Particle pollution data are graded by both year-round and short-term levels:
  • More than 47 million U.S. residents, including over a million kids with asthma, live in areas with levels of particle pollution that are unhealthy year-round.
  • Almost 93 million Americans live in areas that experience too many days with short-term spikes (from several hours to several days) in particle pollution, including 2.1 million kids with asthma.
In addition to ozone and particle pollution, other pollutants include gases such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. High levels of these gases can also affect lung function.
Air pollution is a problem for everyone — not just people with asthma. Studies have shown that high levels of air pollution can be associated with decreased lung function and more frequent reports of respiratory symptoms. This is especially true for people who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Kids may be particularly affected by pollution levels because they:
  • play outdoors
  • have faster breathing rates
  • have lungs that are still developing
  • Exercise
But although high levels of pollution affect everyone, people with asthma are more sensitive and experience the effects more quickly and severely. Additional studies have shown that ozone, particle pollution, and other forms of air pollution worsen asthma and increase hospital visits for people with asthma. And again, it's kids with asthma who are especially vulnerable to these effects.
Pollutants in the air have the same effect on people with asthma as other triggers. They reduce lung function by inflaming the lining of the lungs. Exposure to pollutants in the air can cause flare-ups and may increase the chance of upper respiratory infections, which can worsen asthma symptoms. If allergens in the air are an asthma trigger, pollutants can make the lungs even more sensitive to them.
An important aspect of managing your child's asthma is avoiding triggers. That means you should pay attention to pollution levels and plan accordingly when they're going to be high.
And although you can't single-handedly solve air pollution, you can take these important steps to help improve it when the air quality is poor:
  • Don't put gas in your car until after 7 PM.
  • Avoid using outboard motors, off-road vehicles, or other gasoline-powered recreational vehicles.
  • Avoid mowing your lawn or using other gasoline-powered gardening equipment until the late evening or until the air quality improves.
  • Don't use paints, solvents, or varnishes that produce fumes.
  • If you're barbecuing, use an electric starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid.
  • Don't drive — share a ride, take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.
  • Exercise and do a lot of Meditation as Yoga for example

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