BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The beautiful, clear sky that looked over the metro area Monday is the kind that drives people outdoors. Unfortunately, the calm winds and excessive sunshine are also a perfect combination to produce ozone, which can be troubling for those with respiratory issues.
Scientists with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued an air quality alert day for much of southeast Louisiana Monday and Tuesday.
Senior LDEQ scientist, Vivian Aucoin, explains weather conditions that involve sunshine and no wind leave chemicals and pollution to sit in the air. "When you don't have wind mixing it, they all kind of get together and in the presence of sunlight, they cook, for lack of a better term, to create ozone," said Aucoin.
While most healthy adults won't notice the potential d rop in air quality, those with respiratory issues, such as asthma or COPD, could. Young kids or the elderly are especially vulnerable.
"There's a higher risk of hospitalization, uses of medical care," said pediatric pulmonologist, Dr. Andres Carrion.
Carrion adds the most common symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, or in severe cases, infection and pneumonia.
Fortunately, air quality action days are rare, says Aucoin. The scientist says industry standards have helped continually improve the air quality in Louisiana. However, there are simple changes that everyone can do to continue to improve the air quality, especially during times of ozone alerts.
Those tips include carpooling, avoiding drive-thrus, refueling during the evening, and avoid burning fuel or running large equipment like lawn mowers.
Carrion added anyone with health concerns should avoid prolonged activities outside and keep their windows closed.
May is also Air Quality Awareness Month in Louisiana. More tips and information can be found here.