Air quality level may be harmful to some

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 11:38am

BATON ROUGE, LA (FOX44) -- The Department Of Environmental Quality monitors in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas show a particular matter to be at a level that is unhealthy for sensitive groups. Today, Wednesday, Aug. 31, an air quality alert has been issued.

Sensitive people, children and the elderly should limit prolonged activity at this level, which is orange on the Air Quality Index. Because a marsh fire continues to burn in the Bayou Sauvage area of eastern New Orleans, particulate matter levels in southeast Louisiana could fluctuate between moderate and unhealthy depending on weather conditions.

Particulate matter consists of very fine particles that can aggravate a number of health problems. People with asthma, allergies and other respiratory conditions should avoid being outside for prolonged periods of time. Other individuals should avoid exertion and prolonged activity outdoors when smoke is present. Seek medical care if you experience difficulty breathing or any other health-related issues.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that individuals with asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions should avoid prolonged exposure to the smell and should continue to follow their treatment plans as determined by their health care providers. Individuals bothered by the smell should go indoors and run their air conditioner or central air conditioning system if they have one. Also, set your vehicle's air conditioning system to recirculate air.

DHH created a fact sheet on smoke, air quality and health for the public. The fact sheet provides info on things the public can do to minimize exposure and health impact. You can find it here or at the Department of Health and Hospitals website here.

The Department of Environmental Quality continues to monitor the air from its fixed monitoring sites. Air quality alerts will be issued as needed.

For information about air quality and for air quality forecasts visit DEQ's website.

To sign up for air quality alerts click here.


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