Air quality reaches unhealthy levels

By Glen Mills

Published 12/13 2013 04:15PM

Updated 12/13 2013 06:19PM

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – You can feel it in the air and it doesn't feel so good.

The longer the inversion holds on, the more the pollution builds up.

That's why officials are putting Utahns on high alert.

"My daughter has a hard time breathing, so it's hard for her to be outside," said concerned mom, Karen Moore.

The first inversion of the season locked in on the valley earlier this week, trapping more and more pollution by the day.

"In the valley the majority of pollution is from the passenger vehicles and then there is another significant proportion from industrial sources," said Denitza Blagev, Pulmonologist, Intermountain Medical Center.

After a few days of buildup the Division of Air Quality bumped us into the red zone.

That means the elderly and anyone with an existing heart or lung disease should stay indoors and cut down on physical activity.

Doctor Blagev says it's not just those at risk that should take action, even healthy people could suffer long term consequences.

"There are studies showing people that are exposed to air pollution were all at higher rates of developing asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease and higher rates of death," said Blagev.

She offers five ways to stay safe when the air quality is so poor.

1. Take your medications as directed.

2. Stay indoors when possible.

3. Go to a higher altitude where the air is clean.

4. Avoid exercising outdoors.

5. Try to limit emissions.

“It's important for us to realize we're all suffering the affects, not somebody else," said Blagev.

A team effort to help us all breathe a little easier.

"They might develop something later on in life, because they have to keep breathing this in, so yeah, I’m concerned about them," said Moore.

Even though we have very poor air quality right now, it's not considered a chronic problem here in Utah, because all it takes is a good storm to move in and clear the air.

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