Air Pollution and Health

One thing the AQI does is help you understand what the air quality around you means to your health. Each of the AQI colors has a word or phrase to go with it that tells you something about health. These are the colors and the health words that go with them.

AQI Colors Health Word(s)
Green Good
Yellow Moderate
Orange Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Red Unhealthy
Purple Very Unhealthy
Maroon Hazardous

What is a Sensitive Group?

Sometimes people with asthma need help breathing. Some people are more sensitive to air pollution than other people. Different people can be sensitive to different air pollutants. For example, ozone might make you cough. Particulate matter may not bother you, but it may make your grandmother cough and need to rest. One sensitive group is people with asthma. Asthma is a disease that can make it hard to breathe. If people who have asthma are careful and do what the doctor tells them to do, they may never have trouble breathing.

Another sensitive group is children. Why are you part of a sensitive group? Because you're young, and that means your body is still growing, and your lungs are still developing. Also, you tend to play outside more, where the air pollution is. Does this mean you must stay inside when the air is dirty? Not really! Check out what the AQI colors and health words tell you to do.

How can I tell if air pollution is affecting me?

If you are playing hard outside when the AQI is orange or worse you may cough, feel some discomfort when you breathe, or your chest may feel tight. If you do, you should tell your parents or teachers. People with asthma may wheeze the day after pollution levels are high. If you have asthma, be sure and follow your doctor's advice when pollution levels are high.

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