Monday, November 28

Pollution: Ozone concentration rises and the Board gives advice to avoid health problems


A small air quality meter designed by Héctor Gómez, a student from Cáceres. / TODAY

This gas that increases with heat causes respiratory problems, eye irritation and headache

With the arrival of high temperatures, tropospheric ozone levels increase and can produce effects on health. In Extremadura, solar radiation plays a very important role in increasing these levels, indicates the Board in a press release. In addition, there may be displacements of air masses that cause tropospheric ozone to arrive from other places in the region. For this reason, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition recalls the measures to be taken into account in view of the increase in the levels of this secondary pollutant, which, since it does not exist in direct emission sources, is very difficult to minimize.

Ozone is a gas made up of three carbon atoms (O3), “very reactive that causes respiratory problems, eye irritation and headaches,” says the Board.

The man from Cáceres who checks the air in times of pandemic

Royal Decree 102/2011, of January 28, regarding the improvement of air quality, establishes in its article 20, that when any of the information or alert thresholds are exceeded or it is expected that they will be exceeded, the Competent administrations will adopt the necessary measures to inform society of the levels registered or foreseen and of the measures that are going to be adopted.

more sensitive people

When the ozone concentration is above the information threshold ([O3]>180 µg/m3), there are groups of people who are particularly sensitive. Specifically, those with chronic respiratory pathologies such as asthma, COPD or emphysema and cardiovascular diseases; kids; elderly or people who perform physical activities outdoors.

Health problems

In these groups, the ozone concentrations reached can cause some effects such as difficulty in breathing, sensation of chest pain when inhaling deeply, cough, itching of the eyes and throat.

As a recommendation, especially sensitive groups should reduce prolonged exposure to ozone by avoiding outdoor activities, it being especially important to avoid such exposure in the middle of the day, where the ozone concentration is higher.

An additional recommendation is not to aggravate the effects by being exposed to additional irritating factors such as tobacco smoke, use of solvents indoors or exposure to seasonal pollen.

alert threshold

When the ozone concentration exceeds the alert threshold ([O3]>240 µg/m3), in addition to applying the aforementioned recommendations, people with medical treatment should ask the pharmacist or doctor for advice if it is necessary to adapt it, in addition to avoiding prolonged outdoor activities; prioritize short outings that require the least effort, and keep the houses with the windows closed.


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