During the summer months and especially in August, there are challenges with regard to air quality in Southern Nevada. Poor air quality may affect those in treatment for lung issues, such as COPD and asthma. With advisories for air quality frequent — and many often advised to limit outdoor exposure — the following resources help navigate air quality concerns.
While it’s healthy to get outdoor fresh air regularly, the team at Lung Center of Nevada, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers, recommends patients and everyone to be mindful about indoor air quality with recommendations including getting indoor plants and opening windows to circulate fresh air into heated and air-conditioned environments. With that guidance also comes caution during days when outdoor air quality is bad. This can include days when dust is kicked up from the wind, or fires in the region deliver smoke to the area’s skies.
Air Quality in Southern Nevada
The American Lung Association recently released its 2019 Air Quality Report and found that Las Vegas air quality is among the worst in the nation for ground-level ozone, the colorless gas that causes smog pollution. Overall, the county saw 35 days where ozone levels were higher than a federal standard of 70 parts per billion over eight hours in the day in 2018. In 2017, the regions only saw 18 days so there are annual variances. Even with variances, the need to be vigilant about air quality remains.
How to Monitor Air Quality in Southern Nevada
There are plenty of easy-to-use resources to monitor what’s going on in the air we breathe. One of the best resources is Clark County’s Air Quality page. The page serves as a communications platform for alerts and warnings, while sharing updates about progress being made to improve air quality in the region. The page links to announcements, which are helpful since the page highlights events and occurrences, such as Fourth of July weekend, where one can know in advance to take precautions.
For more immediate information, the Environmental Protection Agency’s AirNow website shows air quality in real time. Also included is an Air Quality Index number, which provides a detailed guide about air pollutants. The information includes data about today and tomorrow and is helpful for those planning outdoor activities.
Staying Air Safe in Southern Nevada
The team at Lung Center of Nevada, offer the following tips to help people be smart with air quality:
- Consult Your Doctor: First and foremost, consult with your doctor to develop a plan to be safe when air quality is poor. And if you don’t feel well during poor air quality days and breathing becomes a challenge, consider seeking emergency help immediately.
- Stay Informed: As detailed above, be sure to pay close attention to public health messages and their recommended precautionary measures. AirNow has an email alert called EnviroFlash that delivers this news right to your inbox.
- Alternate Exercise Choices: When air quality is bad, and you still want to get some exercise, find a different option, such as walking around the mall. Fashion Show Mall offers a large indoor space, as well as plenty of free underground parking close to elevators and escalators.
- Keep Your Own Environment Clean: When air quality is bad, keep doors and windows closed. During these hot summer months, run the AC with the fresh air intake closed. Take a few days off from lighting candles and vacuuming.
- Be Careful Outside: When reports say that air quality is going to be bad, if you do have to go outside, limit time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activities where breathing can be labored.
- Masks Aren’t The Answer: The most readily available dust masks only filter large particles. They are not very helpful in stopping smaller, more dangerous particles.
Air quality in our area can change quickly due to wind, so be careful about being outdoors during windy days. Also of concern are fires from across the region, so it’s important to take precautions if you see or smell any smoke. If you are experiencing a crisis or emergency with your breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Lung Center of Nevada Can Help
Physicians at Lung Center of Nevada, a division of Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for patients with lung disease such as COPD and asthma, among others. Lung Center of Nevada also provides evaluation, diagnosis and referrals for treatment options to patients with lung and bronchus cancer. To schedule an appointment with the Lung Center of Nevada, call 702-737-5864.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.