That burning in your throat might not be heartburn! It could be because the Lehigh Valley is experiencing an Air Quality Action Day when ozone and particulate pollution are so bad it makes your throat burn when you are outside.
You will probably feel more tired than usual, too, not just because it’s hot but also because your lungs are struggling with each breath to get enough oxygen for your body to function optimally.
There is something you can do, both to protect yourself from the ill effects of bad air quality and to help prevent the air from getting worse. First of all you need to “Know your air quality.” To see the current forecast and monitoring information for the Lehigh Valley / Berks Area, visit the PA DEP Forecast and Monitoring Site http://www.ahs2.dep.state.pa.us/aq_apps/aqpartners/default.asp You can request daily email notifications of our air quality, too.
What can you do to improve our air quality? The Lehigh Valley/Berks County Air Quality Partnership encourages residents to consider using public transit or other forms of alternative transportation on all Air Quality Action Days.
When the ozone level is expected to be very high:
* Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature.
* Choose a cleaner commute—share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk to errands when possible.
* Refuel cars and trucks after dusk.
* Combine errands and reduce trips.
* Limit engine idling.
* Use household, workshop, and garden chemicals in ways that keep evaporation to a minimum, or try to delay using them when poor air quality is forecast.
When the particulate pollution level is expected to be high:
* Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
* Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
* Avoid burning leaves, trash and other materials.
* For more information on the health effects of PM 2.5 and ozone, visit the EPA Airnow website
* To find out more information about the Air Quality Partnership of the Lehigh Valley – Berks Area, visit the AQP of LVB http://www.lvbcair.org/