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A hidden threat: Tips for fighting asthma

 In the summer, when air quality worsens, it’s more important than ever to know triggers and treatments for asthma.

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According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, almost 15 percent of Hispanic children in Pennsylvania report having asthma. Asthma is a disease of the lungs that makes it hard to breathe and causes chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing.

There are many factors in and outside of the home that can aggravate asthma or trigger an asthma attack. One of these factors is outdoor air pollution. In the Philadelphia region, pollution from cars, trucks, and buses form ozone, and ozone make it hard for people with asthma to breathe.

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When ozone levels outside reach unhealthy levels, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection declares an “Air Quality Action Day.” On these days, it is important that children don’t overexert themselves and take plenty of breaks from activities. Children with asthma should be especially careful, and they should rest if they start having trouble breathing. On Air Quality Action Days it is particularly important to take steps to prevent air pollution.

You can learn when ozone levels are going to be unhealthy by visiting www.airqualitypartnership.org. You can also sign up at this site to receive text or email alerts when the air quality is going to be unhealthy.

Everyone can take steps to prevent air pollution. Simple things like turning off your vehicle when it’s parked, making sure that you keep your car or truck well maintained, and walking or biking for short trips are all actions that you can take to protect your health, reduce air pollution, and even save money.

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