Code Orange air quality alert in place for most of our area

The hazy skies and pollution prompted health officials to declare a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Tuesday.

That means people in sensitive groups including the elder, young children or asthma sufferers should stay indoors.

“If you are going to be inside, it’s best to have your air conditioning going. I know it’s not necessarily a hot day, but it does condition the air,” said Dr. Brian Lamb of Allegheny Health Network

Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland are all under the alert.

Health officials advise sensitive groups to stay indoors and if possible, filter the indoor air with an air conditioner or air purifier, keep the windows and doors closed, update inhalers and medicines and wear glasses instead of contact lenses.

If the pollution burns your eyes or makes it difficult to breathe, Lamb said don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.

“Getting fast treatment is a lot better than waiting until your breathing is bad that you have to go to the hospital to get intense treatment,” says Lamb.

The hazy weather means cooler mornings. That’s something avid runner Alex Cline prefers. He checks his smartwatch every morning to find out the air quality in Pittsburgh.

“I mean it’s worrisome, but I am doing a short run today, And it’s an easy one, so it shouldn’t be too bad,” says Cline

If the drier weather patterns continue, health and environmental officials say we can expect more code orange alerts.

The US Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index (AQI) provides standardized color codes to forecast and report daily air quality.

Green signifies good air quality. Yellow means moderate air quality. Orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive groups of people. Red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

The DEP says residents and businesses within the Air Quality Action Day areas are strongly encouraged to voluntarily help reduce fine particulate matter air pollution by:

  • Reducing or eliminating fireplace and wood stove use;

  • Avoiding the open burning of leaves, trash and other materials; and

  • Avoiding the use of gas-powered lawns and garden equipment.

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