Protect your health from the ozone this summer

Published 06/25 2014 05:24PM

Updated 06/25 2014 06:11PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - The Utah Departments of Health and Environmental Quality have developed resources and recommendations to help Utahns protect their health during ozone season.

Ozone is created by the sun's heat and light acting on gases and pollution in the atmosphere. Ozone levels are often difficult to predict, but are typically highest during hot afternoon hours.

Exposure to high summer ozone levels can cause coughing, wheezing and chest tightness; worsen allergy and asthma symptoms; and irritate the eyes, nose and throat. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on a person's sensitivity to ozone and can be felt immediately or as late as one or more days after exposure. People with heart and lung conditions, children, seniors, and people who work or exercise outdoors can be more sensitive to ozone.

"Ozone affects each person differently," said Kellie Baxter, UDOH Asthma Program. "Monitor ozone levels and the symptoms you experience during outdoor activities to determine what level of ozone you are sensitive to," she added. "This will help you decide when to move your activities indoors to reduce your exposure."

To help Utahns plan outdoor activities during ozone season, UDOH and DEQ guidelines recommend:
• The best time for outdoor summer physical activity is before noon or after 6:00 p.m.
• If you are physically active between noon and 6:00 pm:
        oConsider light to moderate activity (e.g., walking instead of running).
        oConsider indoor activities.
•Discuss physical activities with your doctor, especially if you have lung disease or a heart condition.

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