Climate, weather and air quality all play a significant role in people’s health – While air quality in the U.S. has increased greatly since the 1970’s, as of 2008 more than 126 million Americans lived in areas that did not meet national air quality standards (1).

Additionally, scientists predict that warmer temperatures as a result of climate change will increase how often we experience days with unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone. Ground-level ozone, a component of air-pollution and smog, can damage the lung tissue, aggravate asthma or COPD and make breathing difficult.   

So, how can people who suffer from lung diseases like asthma and COPD protect themselves, and future generations, from the dangers of reduced air quality?

  • Check air quality and pollution levels in your neighborhood daily. You can get up to the date information on air quality and pollution online so you can adapt your routine accordingly.  You can also find local pollen and mold counts depending on the season.
  •  Avoid outdoor activities when air is bad. Get your exercise by walking in a mall or visiting a gym instead of jogging or exercising outside.
  • Don’t allow friends or family members to smoke indoors – Dangerous particles from cigarettes can linger in the air long after they’re extinguished.
  • Join the fight for cleaner, healthier air for everyone by using less energy in your home, carpooling or taking the bus to work, filling your car’s gas tank in the evening hours and not burning wood or trash.

Reduced air quality and increased pollution are dangerous for everyone – Especially those who suffer from chronic lung disease like asthma and COPD. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, and others, from the dangers of reduced air quality. By adapting your routine to lessen the air’s impact on your lungs and making small changes to help improve the quality of our air, you can make a difference for future generations.

1. EPA (2010). Our Nation’s Air: Status and Trends Through 2008 (PDF). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA -454/R -09-002.