Friday, July 27, 2012
Local officials are urging citizens to respond to an Ozone Air Quality Alert issued on Friday for the Wichita area. Ozone concentrations on Thursday and Friday in Sedgwick and Sumner Counties exceeded allowable levels, raising concerns for the third week this summer about health consequences and possible federal sanctions.
The Kansas Department of Transportation will use its digital message boards today and possibly through the weekend to notify the public of tips to reduce vehicle emissions.
Residents and employers are asked to use the following tips:
Unhealthy levels of ozone can cause throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and aggravation of asthma and other respiratory ailments. These symptoms are worsened by exercise and heavy activity.
Children, elderly and people who have underlying lung diseases such as asthma are at particular risk of suffering from these effects. As ozone levels increase, the number of people affected and the severity of the health effects also increase.
To avoid experiencing these effects, vulnerable residents should limit outdoor exercise and strenuous activity and stay in an air-conditioned environment during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone levels are highest. Outdoor exercise and activities should be scheduled in the morning hours. Individuals who experience respiratory symptoms should consult their doctors.