Health Watch - July Fourth: 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 enjoying the Fourth of July safely. Before you head outdoors, you should check the ozone status, especially if you have breathing problems.

Ozone forms from a reaction between engine emission chemicals, sunlight and heat. Dr. Carlos Girod, a lung disease specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says people with asthma, allergies and lung disease feel the effects of ozone pollution first, but when ozone levels are very high, everyone may be affected. If ozone levels are high on July 4, plan your outdoor activities for the evening, when ozone levels are lower.

If you are outdoors and ozone levels are high, try to avoid activities that cause you to breathe deeply. People with lung problems should keep medications handy. To help reduce emissions, avoid driving or using gasoline engines when there’s an ozone alert, and fill your gas tank after dark when escaping gas fumes can’t react with sunlight.

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June 2010


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