OKLAHOMA CITY – An Ozone watch has been issued for the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metro areas for Thursday.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says the watch will initiate the issuance of an “Ozone Alert Day.”
The watch is a prediction that concentrations of ozone will approach levels of concern over the next 24 hours. When these levels are reached, an Air Quality Health Advisory will be issued.
Those with lung or heart disease should be aware that increased pollution may cause them to experience adverse health effects.
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, older adults and people with 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 help avoid ozone formation and reduce your exposure:
- Car pool or ride the bus to work or school.
- Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips during morning hours when ozone levels are lower.
- Wait until evening to refuel your automobile or mow your lawn.
- Arrive and leave work a little earlier or later than usual to decrease rush-hour traffic.
- Drive your most fuel efficient vehicle.
- Make sure gas caps on vehicles, lawn mowers and other equipment seal properly.
- Trip chain, combine errands to make one trip instead of several.
- Limit idling time in your vehicle.
- Limit the use of drive-through windows.
- Limit the use of charcoal starter fluid and other products that contain hydrocarbons.
- Postpone normally permissible outdoor burning to a non-Ozone Watch day.
- Limit or postpone the use of two-cycle engines (i.e. lawnmowers, weed eaters, motor boats and motor cycles).
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