By Connie Choy, Provincial Air Quality Coordinator/Smoke-Free Homes & Asthma Program Coordinator at The Ontario Lung Association
Clean Air Day is a great time to think about ways to keep the air we breathe as clean and healthy as possible. Look at these tips to help lead to cleaner air:
• Check the air quality readings in your local area. Visit www.airhealth.ca for your local conditions.
• If there is poor air quality expected or a smog day forecast, stay indoors in a cool environment and keep windows and doors closed. Reschedule outdoor activities to another day if possible. Exercise indoors or in the early morning or evening when air pollution levels are lower.
• Take public transit or carpool on days with poor air quality. Consider biking or walking as alternate ways to get around.
• Do not idle your vehicle when waiting for someone.
• Avoid using gas or diesel-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers or gardening equipment. These devices create high levels of air pollution.
• Consider planting trees around your home in the summer. Trees “filter” and help limit air particles. Trees can also keep your home cooler during the summer, lowering electricity bills.
• If you have asthma or allergies, keep your medication nearby when needed and have it under control. Summer triggers such as tree pollen, grass, wood smoke, and air pollution can lead to difficulty breathing, itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and even triggering an asthma attack.
For more information about how to breathe freely this summer, call The Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864) or visit www.lung.ca.