Rochester, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an air quality advisory for high ozone levels, which has doctors nervous for patients with respiratory ailments.
"Asthma is triggered by heat and humidity and it is also triggered by high levels of ozone," says Dr. Allison Ramsey, a Respiratory specialist from Rochester General Health Systems.
When compounded with all of the heat and humidity, the reduced air quality makes it harder for those with Asthma, COPD and the like to breathe.
"If they know that they are having more respiratory related symptoms they should use their recuse inhaler. If it isn't helping, they need to get in touch with their doctor to see if their treatment plan needs to be re-evaluated"
However the same chemical that causes problems for some, protects the rest of us from an overexposure of radiation from the sun. “Ozone is a good thing when it’s up in the upper atmosphere,” says 13 WHAM-TV meteorologists Marty Snyder. “That’s where it naturally occurs. Different chemical compounds once they interact with sun light, they form ozone near the surface and that’s a bad thing. When you get it into your lungs, it’s a lung irritant.”
The problem ozone, according to the State DEC, is caused by the exhaust from transportation vehicles. On days where ozone is high they advise motorists to drive only when necessary and to use public transportation when feasible.
Dr. Ramsey advises patients to stay indoors in a cooler environment, where the quality of the air is controlled.