Health Watch -- Summer Heat: Ozone

Health Watch is a public service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we're talking about hot summer weather and the health hazards it can bring with it. The summer heat may actually affect the air you breathe. Pollution is never good for you, but hot, sunny days make it even worse. Sunlight triggers a chemical reaction with automobile emissions and other pollutants to create ground-level ozone.

Ozone can cause breathing problems in children, older adults and people with asthma or other lung diseases. Dr. Carlos Girod, a doctor at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, says there could be another hazard. Repeated exposure to ozone might affect lung development, leading to chronic lung disease.

Ozone is worst during the middle of the day, and even healthy people should avoid exercise at that time on high-ozone days.



July 2006

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