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  • Air quality crucial to healthy hearts

    Feb 13, 2019 | Read More News
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    Love is in the air and so is air pollution. Air pollution affects not only our lungs, but studies show air pollution can also trigger heart attacks, strokes and worsen heart failure in those at risk. February is National Heart Month and Pima County Department of Air qualityEnvironmental Quality (PDEQ) works daily to monitor air quality and educate the community on how to protect loved ones from health problems associated with air pollution.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one in three Americans has heart or blood vessel disease and is at higher risk from air pollution.
     
    Air quality can be poor any time of the year, and can be especially problematic near busy roads, when smoke is in the air, when it is windy and during the summer when the weather is calm and clear.
     
    Know where to go to get air quality information:
    • www.pima.gov/deq look for the “Current Air Quality” link in “Air” section on the home page;
    • Sign up at to receive air quality advisories via email;
    • Follow PDEQ on Twitter at @PimaDEQ for air quality information and updates;
    • Sign up to receive ADEQ’s air quality forecasts.
    Understand the EPA Air Quality Index (AQI) and when air pollution levels may affect your health:

    • AQI is a color scale based on monitoring data that tells you how clean or polluted the air is.
    • AQI provides an advisory health message depending on pollution levels.
    Below are some tips (adapted from the EPA’s “Healthy Heart Toolkit”) to be heart healthy and breathe easier.
     
    Take steps to protect yourself, or loved ones, if air pollution is high:
    • Postpone outdoor activity until the air is cleaner;
    • Avoid exercising near busy roads;
    • Reduce level of activity (for example, walk instead of jog); and
    • Exercise inside instead of outside.
     
    Steps you and loved ones can take to reduce air pollution:
    • Drive less – condense errands into one trip, share rides, take transit;
    • Limit idling your vehicle – park and go inside;
    • Pick one day a week as a “no-drive” day – carpool, bike or skip trips;
    • Maintain vehicles and keep tires properly inflated;
    • Reduce energy use – use cold water for laundry and line dry, if possible;
    • Use surge protectors for multiple appliances and chargers and turn them off when not in use;
    • Use a rake or broom instead of electric or gasoline-powered tools;
    • Conserve water – grow native and low-water use plants and trees;
    • Recycle, reuse, repurpose, and buy “vintage”; and
    • Eat local (and nearby), buy locally produced products and from farmers markets.
     
    If you are at higher risk for health issues, knowing air pollution levels and modifying your exercise routine, if necessary, can help protect your health. Work with your health care provider to develop a plan that works for your individual needs, and do your share for healthier air. 
     
    Love the air and keep it healthy.