Air Quality and Asthma

As bronchiolitis season finally abates, asthma regains its primary place as the most common respiratory complaint at CMC Dallas ED. While we carefully educate patients and their families about preventative measures and ways to alter the home environment to prevent asthma exacerbations, the environment outside of the home is not so easily altered and can have an enormous impact on patient health. Air quality in particular is beyond the patient and the family’s control, and yet it significantly impacts an asthmatic’s ability to breathe.

Historically, Dallas has failed to meet EPA federal standards for ozone reduction, although the 5 year Regional Haze SIP Revision promises to address some of these short-falls. Additionally, grass roots efforts to improve air quality abound with suggestions for citizens who desire cleaner air for our communities. Some of these suggestions and opportunities for further reading are found below:

 Share a ride to work or school.

Avoid morning rush-hour traffic.

Walk or ride a bicycle.

Take your lunch to work or school.

Combine errands into one trip.

Avoid drive-through lanes.

Postpone refueling until after 6 p.m.

Don’t top off your gas tank when refueling.

Postpone using gas engines such as lawnmowers until after 6 p.m

Keep your vehicle properly tuned to keep exhaust levels low.

History of air quality regulation and compliance in DFW: http://www.nctcog.org/trans/air/policy/MILESTONES1hr8hrConf.pdf

Recent legislation: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/sip/Hottop.html

To monitor air quality: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=234 

Literature on air quality and asthma in Texas:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23312496 

More small steps for impact: http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/monops/ozonetips.htmlhttp://www.airnorthtexas.org/individual.asp

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