The Air Quality Index - Why is it Important?

The American Lung Association recently released their “State of the Air” 2017 findings and there are some things you’ll want to know especially if you suffer from COPD or other lung and breathing related illnesses.

Each year, the American Lung Association reviews their State of the Air findings for every state in the U.S.

But what is air quality and why is it important?

The Air Quality Index is used to report the daily air quality in any given location. This report will tell you how clean or unclean the air you’re breathing is and what to be wary of. The Air Quality index’s main role is to determine if there are any health related effects you might experience should you spend significant time breathing unclean air. The Air Quality Index, or AQI, calculates the following four major air pollutants: ground level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide. Each of these pollutants has a national standard that protects the publics health.

Why is this important?

The air around you, that you breath each day, affects how you live your life. Similar to the weather, air quality can change by the hour and you may have noticed news outlets indicating “Code Red for Ozone,” “poor air quality today,” and even in some states requests to car pool for the day. Several groups of people are at risk for poor air quality, especially if they are active outdoors. Those at risk include: people with lung diseases, children, older adults, active people, and even select healthy individuals.

If the national standards of pollutants are not met, you could experience the following health related symptoms to breathing unclean air:

  • Irritation of the Respiratory System
  • Reduction in Lung Function
  • Inflammation and Damage to the Cells that Line the Lungs
  • Aggravated Asthma
  • Aggravation of other Chronic Lung Diseases
  • Permanent Lung Damage

How can you protect yourself?

If you suffer from COPD or other lung related illnesses, being mindful of the Air Quality Index can help you to avoid any complications or increases in symptoms. You can easily check your local AQI rating by simply checking the weather. Many national news outlets, such as - USA Today, The Weather Channel, and CNN, provide, daily, televised, and online AQI reports. Another way to stay up-to-date is to sign-up for Air Quality Index forecasts via email. For example, one of our favorite sites by AirNow (http://www.enviroflash.info/) allows you to sign-up per your location and receive email alerts when the air in your area is of concern.

When you review your areas AQI report, it’s important to understand the different levels of pollution and how to protect yourself at each level. Take a look at these helpful charts by AirNow:

Air Quality Index and a Guide to Your Lung Health

Air Quality Index and a Guide to Your Lung Health



Interested in learning more? Check out the links below: