Partner Post by Regence | Read original article here
Communities both locally and nationally are dealing with the effects of seasonal wildfires, which have become more common in recent years. While we know to protect ourselves from the heat and the sun, we don’t always think about the air we breathe. Summertime air quality can turn bad in late summer due to an increase in air-borne particulates, such as ash, soot, etc., and ground-level ozone when the weather is hotter and drier. Lower air quality can create certain health risks, especially for vulnerable populations. When planning summer activities, add “check air quality” to your checklist.
A mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air, known as airborne particulate matter, creates particulate pollution. It can come from fire smoke and soot as well as dust from unpaved roads and construction sites. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when particulate pollution is high in your area:
Ground-level ozone is created when pollution from cars, power plants, industrial boilers, refineries, chemical plants and other sources chemically react to sunlight. Ozone can cause several health problems, including coughing, breathing difficulty and lung damage. Exposure to ozone can make the lungs more at risk of infection, diseases, asthma attacks, as well as an increased risk of early death from heart or lung disease. Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself when ozone is high in your area:
Call your doctor if you or someone around you experiences symptoms that may be related to pollution exposure, including shortness of breath, repeated coughing, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. Pay particular attention to those most sensitive to the health impacts of poor air quality like children, older adults, people with heart or lung conditions as well as those who are pregnant.
Regence wants to make it simple for you to contact a provider should you need one. Use our provider search to identify a provider in your network who can suit your needs. Check out our virtual health choices if you prefer telehealth. If you need any additional help, get in touch with customer service.