The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) expects today’s air pollution concentrations to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive individuals in Rockingham County today. Officials are calling today an Air Quality Action Day and are advising that sensitive individuals take precautions to protect their health by limiting prolonged or heavy exertion.
Sensitive individuals include those with heart or lung diseases, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis, people who are active outdoors and children and older adults. Even healthy individuals can experience mild health effects today and should consider limiting strenuous or prolonged activities.
The unhealthy air quality, which contains concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main component of smog, is anticipated due to today’s forecast of high temperatures under sunny skies and light winds. Concentrations of fine particle pollution are also forecasted to be moderate throughout the state. The combination of the two pollutants may intensify health effects.
Symptoms of ozone exposure include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain when inhaling deeply, and shortness of breath. Particle pollution exposure symptoms, for those with heart disease, may include chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Those with lung disease may not be able to breathe as deeply or vigorously and may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Severity of the health effects will increase as ozone and particle pollution concentrations increase. Fine particle pollution may also cause hazy conditions, which could decrease visibility.
Additional advisories will be made if unhealthy air quality is expected to continue later into this week. For further information, contact DES at (603-271-1370. For air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire, call 1-800-935-SMOG, visit the DES website or sign up for personalized email alerts by clicking here.