print header

News Release

Use the Air Quality Health Index to protect yourself from effects of air pollution

Jul 24, 2014
Barrie residents now have another tool available to help protect their health and those they care for against the negative effects of poor air quality.

BARRIE – Barrie residents now have another tool available to help protect their health and those they care for against the negative effects of poor air quality.

Environment Canada is now monitoring and reporting on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI), a national tool to inform the public of the health risks related to air quality on a daily basis, within the City of Barrie. The AQHI reports air quality in relation to health on a scale from 1 to 10. The higher the reading, the greater the health risk and need to take precaution.

“People with heart or breathing problems are more sensitive to air pollution and should reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities when the Air Quality Health Index reaches seven or above,” said Marina Whelan, manager of the health hazards program for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Children, the elderly, or anyone experiencing symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation should also limit outdoor physical activity until the air quality improves.”

Poor air quality is associated with thousands of premature deaths and hospitalizations in Canada each year. It’s estimated in Simcoe Muskoka this year that more than 400 deaths will result from the long-term effects of air pollution and about 50 deaths will occur due to the acute effects of poor air.

Air pollution worsens heart problems and aggravates lung conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. In healthy people, air pollution reduces lung function and irritates the eyes, nose and throat. 

The AQHI helps people plan ahead by telling them the best time of the day to be physically active and when to curtail outdoor activity. The AQHI provides health messages for both the at-risk population, which includes children, the elderly, people with pre-existing heart and breathing problems, and the general population.

The AQHI helps to protect our health, and also serves as a reminder of the need to protect our environment. Driving less and reducing energy can help to protect the air from pollution. 

For more information about AQHI forecasts see www.airhealth.ca, call Health Connection, free confidential health information and advice at your fingertips, at 705-721-7520 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or connect with us through Facebook and Twitter.

  

-30-

Did you find what you were looking for?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?
Page
Feedback

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...