Don’t be ‘airy fairy’ when it comes to Air Quality – Be Air Aware!

Mornings are a crazy time in my house! As we all scramble to get ready for the day my two children often ask “mom, what is the weather going to be like today?”  I quickly jump for the remote and tune into the weather station, grateful for the daily update and always happy when I see a sunny forecast.

My family truly enjoys the hot days of summer, as I am sure most of us do…but it’s during times when temperatures are extreme that extra care needs to be taken.  This summer has already proven to be a hot one – with three heat alerts issued for Halton already – and both of my children are playing soccer.

Asthma

At a recent game on a particularly hot and smoggy day, I noticed a little girl starting to cough continuously, slow down her pace, and hold her chest.  I could tell right away that she was having difficulty breathing. I overheard her mother say, “something has triggered her asthma”.  Luckily her parents had her reliever medication, and her symptoms subsided quickly. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children.   Although many things can trigger asthma, outdoor air quality can make symptoms worse, which can lead to more hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Poor air quality

Poor air quality impacts everyone’s health, especially seniors, children and people who have pre-existing heart and lung conditions. To help reduce risk, I refer families to the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI). The AQHI provides a number from 1 to 10+ to indicate the level of health risk associated with local air quality.  The higher the number, the greater the health risk and the need to take precaution.

Tips to reduce your child’s exposure during air quality advisories;

  • Monitor air quality and smog at www.airqualityontario.com 
  • During smog and heat alerts, reschedule outdoor activities, if possible.
  • If children must be outside, try scheduling strenuous activities for early morning.
  • Plan activities that can be indoors in a cool, well ventilated area.
  • If your child has asthma monitor the situation, and take extra precautions.
  • If your child’s breathing condition worsens during a smog episode, consult your doctor. In an emergency, call 911, or go to the nearest hospital.

By being ‘air aware’ we will help keep our children and families safe, active, and maximize everyone’s fun in the great outdoors!

Share your experience:

For more information about being ‘air aware’, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Julia Brdarevic is a Public Health Nurse on the Elementary School Team and currently coordinates the Public Health School Asthma Program. This assignment has her working to create asthma friendly environments at schools, child care and community settings across Halton Region. Outside of work she enjoys, trips to the park, soccer games and spending time with her husband and two young children.


This entry was posted in Parenting, Physical Health, Pregnancy, Preschool, School, school health, School-aged Children, Special Needs, Teens, Toddlers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t be ‘airy fairy’ when it comes to Air Quality – Be Air Aware!

  1. BJas says:

    Excellent post! It comes at a good time, particularly since Halton Region just issued its fourth Heat Alert on July 17th. The combination of extreme heat and poor air can add considerable stress to the body, so it’s always important to be prepared and take precautions. For additional tools and resources, be sure to visit: http://www.halton.ca/airquality.

    • Karen Hay says:

      Thanks Beckie for the additional tools and resources, much appreciated! We will be sure to share them on twitter too!

      Karen on behalf of Halton Parents

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