Hot days are bad enough but when you add in a batch of air pollution, as can be found in most major cities, the air quality only seems to get exponentially worse. Major cities have a tendency to form a sort of “heat island” where temperatures on hot days can actually be 2-22°F (1-12°C) hotter than if you live in a nearby rural community.
Living in a valley versus living by the ocean or on a mountain range can also adversely affect air quality on hot days. The hot weather seems to almost cook the pollution and make it that much harder to breathe. Besides, did you know that “Ozone persists for hours after forming, so unhealthy conditions often last well into the evening, after the sun has gone down.“?
Therefore you might want to be aware of these 5 ways that air pollution can hit hard on a hot day:
1) Personally – According to the American Heart Association, continued exposure to air pollution could eventually contribute to heart disease and/or strokes. On hot days, this risk is magnified.
Additionally, young children, people with asthma and older adults are especially susceptible to breathing problems in heavily polluted areas and on hot days. So it is advised, for the sake of your health, to keep an eye on the air quality before you plan any prolonged outdoor activities for you and your family.
Drinking plenty of water and making sure you don’t get dehydrated is key as well. One of my favorite drinks (besides water) when it’s hot outside is: 1-2 teaspoons Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons organic honey and 8 ounces of cold distilled water. It really hits the spot on a hot day!
2) Pets – Animals are not able to fend for themselves most of the time. They depend on their owners to feed them, give them water, provide for them, etc. On hot days this is especially important.
Image by shoe the Linux Librarian
Don’t leave your pet in an area where they can’t escape the hot Summer heat. Also, make sure your pet has plenty of water. A dog, for example, usually drinks about .5-1 ounces of water for every pound they weigh. Hot days they will need more. Animals, like humans can suffer from heat stroke, get sunburns and get dehydrated. It is up to you to ensure your dog is well cared for.
When air quality is poor, your pet can experience some of the same symptoms you do. It is important to limit their exercise on hot, heavy pollution days and minimize their exposure to air pollutants too. Here are a few more hot weather pet care tips.
3) Your vehicle – As you probably know, unless you have an electric vehicle, your vehicle is more than likely contributing to harmful emissions and air pollution. Additionally, when air quality is poor, we tend to keep the windows rolled up and turn up the air conditioning. Which, if you don’t keep your vehicle properly maintained, could cause your vehicle to overheat.
One key tip, since gas vapors are quite harmful and contribute to ground ozone levels, is that you don’t fill up on hot “Air Quality Action Days“. If you have to fill up, it is recommended that you do so in the early morning hours or late evening, like after 7pm.
Nobody wants their car breaking down on a hot, pollution-heavy day.
4) Home – One of the first things we do, or are told to do, on a hot day when air pollution is especially heavy is to stay inside. Makes sense, right?! Well, not necessarily so. Indoor air quality can sometimes be up to 50% worse than outdoor air quality.
Besides the tips in the above video, here are a few more good ways you can improve the air quality inside your home. Take a look and see what you can do so that neither outdoor nor indoor air pollution will hit you quite as hard on a hot day.
5) Your wallet – One of the not so visible things that tends to get hit pretty hard on hot, heavy pollution days is your wallet. Just think about, if you stay at home, you probably spend more money trying to keep your house cool. You might turn on a few extra lights that wouldn’t usually be on.
You might drink and use more water to try and keep yourself cool. Maybe you even water your plants and lawn more to try and keep them from wilting or turning brown.
If you are in your vehicle, you are spending more even if just by having your a/c running the entire time you are out and about.
All in all, it pretty much boils down to the fact that air pollution gets worse on hot days. So a smart way to lower your risk is to lower the amount of air pollution you are putting into the environment. What tips do you have for lowering your exposure to air pollution on hot days?