Clean air

Topics: Air pollution, Smog, United States Environmental Protection Agency Pages: 7 (1075 words) Published: June 1, 2014


SZT Task 3C
Western Governors University

Air Quality and Patient Care
According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, states “Information from clinical, epidemiological, and animal studies summarized above indicates that exposure to ambient ozone is a risk factor for triggering acute and chronic health effects. These include chest discomfort, cough, and shortness of breath and increases in daily mortality and hospital admissions for respiratory disease in the general population as well as those with lung disease; asthma attacks in people with asthma; and the possible development of new cases of asthma and other respiratory disease in people exposed to ozone over many years” (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2014). Respiratory patients face a battle every time they walk outside; the amount of pollution in the air that may not have any effect of a healthy individual, but it may have hazardous effects on those with compromised respiratory function. By knowing and understanding air quality, respiratory patients and their healthcare providers may be able to better manage their health care. The Quality of Air Index, or AQI, is an index used to report daily air quality. This uniform system is based on a numeric scale ranging from 0-500. The current level shown as a number falls into a value range indicating the particular level of air quality at that time. The index for air quality examines levels of five of the most commonly seen air pollutants including; nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ground level- ozone, and particle pollution. (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2014) The AQI Guide for Ozone

Index
Values
Levels
of Health
Concern
Cautionary Statements
0-50
Good
None
51-100*
Moderate
Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. 101-150
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. 151-200
Unhealthy
Active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Everyone else, especially children, should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. 201-300

Very Unhealthy
Active children and adults, and people with lung disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion. Everyone else, especially children, should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. 301-500

Hazardous
Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors.
U.S Environmental Protection Agency (2014, March 12). The AQI Guide for Ozone [Graph]. Retrieved from http://http://www.epa.gov/apti/ozonehealth/aqi.html

High AQI Levels
The EPA recommends limiting outdoor activity when AQI levels are high, patients with decreased respiratory function may start to become symptomatic when participating in high exertion activities for one to three hours with AQI levels above 120 ppb. When ozone levels fall between 60 and 80 ppb patients may experience symptoms when participating in moderate exertion outside from a four to eight hour time period. These symptoms can include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and pain, burning or discomfort with deep breaths. All persons may react to levels differently, patients would most benefit from knowing how particular levels affect them. (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2014) Healthcare providers should encourage patients with decreased lung function to refrain from engaging in outdoor activities during the day when AQI levels are high, which normally includes afternoon and early evening. Outdoor activities should be scheduled in morning when levels are usually lower or postponed to another day when levels will be more conducive for vulnerable patients. Alternative options such as exercising at indoor facilities like recreational clubs, gyms, and shopping malls to decrease added exposure...

References: American Lung Association (2014). Protect Yourself - American Lung Association. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.lung.org/healthy-air/outdoor/protecting-your-health/protecting-yourself/
U.S Environmental Protection Agency (2014, March 12). Patient Exposure and the Air Quality Index | Ozone and Your Patients ' Health | US EPA. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/apti/ozonehealth/aqi.html
U.S Environmental Protection Agency (2014, March 12). The AQI Guide for Ozone [Graph]. Retrieved from http://http://www.epa.gov/apti/ozonehealth/aqi.html
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (2013, October 30). Air quality information for health professionals - Wisconsin DNR. Retrieved May 19, 2014, from http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/AirQuality/Professionals.html
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