Air quality and your healthby Region of Halton | 169 days ago | 2857 page views
Topics: Health & Wellness, Your City
Channels: Your City, Region of Halton
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We all need to breathe but for some it’s more difficult. Individuals who have health issues that affect breathing need to know about bad air days and adjust their activities accordingly.
“Air pollution can make asthma symptoms worse, decrease lung function, increase respiratory infections and make children more sensitive to allergens,” says Rebecca Lewis, Public Health Nurse and School Asthma Project Coordinator with Halton Region. The health care professional suggests that asthma symptoms could get worse when the air pollution is high and more medication may be required.
Studies have shown that even small rises in air pollution can increase emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths. The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a national tool that reports air quality in relation to health on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the reading, the greater the health risk and need to take precautions. You can find the index at www.halton.ca/aqhi.
Gena Ali, a Senior Policy Advisor with Halton Region, has asthma and her breathing is affected by air pollution. She is also concerned about her daughter on bad air days because children are vulnerable to the adverse health effects of polluted air. The Air Quality Health Index is a tool she uses to protect her health and the health of her daughter.
“I use it to plan ahead. It tells me the best time of day to get outside and also when to reduce my outdoor activities. It’s also a reminder of our need to protect the environment,” she explains. In an effort to reduce the amount of pollution caused by vehicle emissions, she suggests everyone try to reduce the amount of driving they do.
“I, for one, don’t own a car,” says Gena.