Spring is here and we are all ready to make the transition of wintry weather to warm and breezy weather with regards to our clothes and outside activity. Ok, there are probably still a few who hate to see the snow go, but not me! So for those of us ready to make the move to a warmer time of the year and moving our exercise and activity outside, let’s talk about air quality.

This is an important issue for the children I work with who have asthma. Parents often ask if it is safe to send their children outside to play when the news is listing a day as a “poor air quality day.” With this issue as with others, it’s important to talk to your doctor, follow the recommended guidelines provided and use your best judgement.

Here are some recommendations:

  • Limit your activity to one that doesn’t require moving and breathing too fast. For example, consider walking instead of running or yoga in place of soccer.
  • Arrange your activity near or in water. Winds tend to be stronger around water so consider kayaking or swimming. Swimming can also be a great indoor activity if it is recommended you stay indoors.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, levels for ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide are the determinants that impact air quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The Air Quality Index Report has six categories: Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy and Hazardous.

Follow the links below to learn more:

Air Quality Index Categories
AQI Reports in the area
Air Quality Index for Kids- Parents Reference Page