Canadian Lung Association Blog

Want to know about air quality in Alberta? There’s an app for that

Did you know there’s a new and easy way to access local air quality conditions? This can be accomplished by consulting the new Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) app.

Available for multiple mobile devices and platforms including iOS, Android and coming soon, BlackBerry, the Alberta AQHI app reports local air quality conditions and health messages in more than 24 communities across the province.  The index updates throughout the day, and reports local air quality on a scale of 1 to 10: the lower the number, the lower the risk to health. This allows individuals to be more proactive about planning daily activities in relation to the local air quality and their health.

 AQHI App

The NEW AQHI app

 The AQHI provides recommendations on how to minimize respiratory health risks with timely and essential information to plan outdoor activities. It is a vital health management tool, with messaging for both general and “at-risk” populations. Seniors, children and individuals with heart or lung disease are at a greater risk from the effects of air pollution, so it is important that these groups pay special attention to the AQHI.

Low risk AQHI readings of 1, 2 or 3 come with health messages that encourage “at-risk” groups and the general public to enjoy their daily outdoor activities as usual. However, if the index is predicted to move up to moderate risk values of 4, 5 or 6, the accompanying health messages encourage “at-risk” groups to take precautions related to their respiratory/chronic conditions. The general public may choose to enjoy their daily outdoor activities as usual, unless experiencing symptoms such as cough and throat irritation. And most crucially, if the index is predicted at 7 or higher, both “at-risk” groups and the general public are advised to modify their outdoor activities. It is important to note that the AQHI is to be used as a guide. Each individual reacts differently to the varying levels of air pollution; therefore, it is necessary to be mindful of any respiratory symptoms that may arise.

AQHI Scale

The Air Quality Health Index Scale 

As program partner, The Lung Association, Alberta and NWT (TLA) is excited to share this valuable new tool with people most at risk to the adverse effects of air pollution and the general public. The Alberta AQHI app is accessible through the Government of Alberta App Store, through app stores on various mobile devices and by visiting airquality.alberta.ca.

For more information on the Air Quality Health Index in Alberta, visit airquality.alberta.ca or contact The Lung Association’s Amy Elefson – Program Specialist, Environment and Health at aelefson@ab.lung.ca or 1-888-866-5864 ext. 2252.

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