Air Pollution Causes Respiratory Conditions
There is no doubt that the weather in Summer is a welcome change from the cooler Winter conditions. However, with the sunshine and warmer temperatures many communities are often graced with an added weather feature. Known simply as smog, this health hazard becomes more prevalent on days of extreme heat and develops primarily around urban settings.
What Is Smog?
Smog is a form of air pollution that resembles a fog of smoke and other air particles. The actual composition of smog is weather and emissions. More specifically, those emissions include pollutants from industrial sources, automobile pollutants, burning from open sources as well as incinerators. The weather components include sunlight mixing with ozone.
The ozone is a gas that has no color or odor and provides a protective layer when it remains in the upper atmosphere. When the chemicals in smog (nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons) mix with sunlight when the temperature in Summer is high, it creates photochemical smog. When this smog enters the lower atmosphere, it can become dangerous to your health.
Depending on where you live, smog occurs during different seasons. In North America, smog typically develops during hot summer months. In the United Kingdom, smog is more frequent in the winter months. Although big cities are typically the only places you will encounter smog, it is important to understand how it can impact your health should you encounter it.
How Smog Can Affect Your Health
As smog is an air pollutant, it can cause health issues just by breathing it into your lungs. This can become irritations of the throat or chest leading to coughing. If you suffer from asthma, smog exposure can trigger an asthma attack. Depending on the level of ozone in the smog and length of exposure, you can experience breathing difficulties and possible lung damage.
How To Protect Yourself
The best way to measure the level of smog in an area is through the Air Quality Index. When the index is high, precautions should be taken to prevent health conditions from developing. They may include reducing the intensity of outdoor activities or staying indoors until the AQI drops down to a safer level. WeatherBug provides real-time AQI readings for your location.
Breathe Easier This Spring and Summer
For accurate weather forecasts and air quality conditions, refer to WeatherBug before planning your outdoor activities. Download our app at www.weatherbug.com or from your favorite app store.