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Fall Allergies and Bad Air Pollution Days

For people with allergies and asthma, sometimes the very air they breathe can be bad for their health. And living in North Texas can mean it is time to buckle up for the fall season of allergens. That’s because a variety of pollutants in our air can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms, leaving people in the throes of eye itchiness, throat irritation, congestion, and headache, on top of the difficulty of breathing on bad air pollution days.

Ground-level ozone is a big contributor to bad air quality. This isn’t the "good" ozone layer found high in the atmosphere that protects us from UV rays of the sun. Ground-level ozone is a pollutant produced when sunlight reacts with the chemical fumes our cars and industrial plants churn out. It aggravates asthma, irritates the lungs, and makes it difficult to breathe.

Air pollution from high-ozone smog can make existing asthma symptoms worse as well as triggering the onset of the condition in the first place. And the closer you get to it, the worse your symptoms are likely to be.

Staying Safe

So, what can you do to protect yourself or your child from bad air quality if you have asthma or allergies during the fall season? Here are some tips to try:

  • Keep track of the daily air quality index in North Texas by checking the Arlo the Airmadillo widget on the Air North Texas homepage. When the color-coded alert level reaches the orange level, the air is considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma, especially children, should take precautions. Stay indoors. If you must go outside, keep activity low and take frequent breaks.

  • When the air quality index goes past orange and up to the red alert level, the air quality is rated "unhealthy." People with asthma or severe allergies should stay indoors as much as possible and avoid outdoor activity. If you must go outside when the air quality index is poor, do it in the morning, before the heat of the day generates more smog and ozone, and avoid exercising outdoors.

  • Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose when you go outside. It can help filter out irritants that aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, in addition to providing a level of protection from the COVID-19 virus.

  • Outdoor air pollution can also get inside. During the autumn months, when you’re tempted to open the windows, check air quality levels first. If they’re high, resist the autumn air and use a circulating fan instead.

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