Spring Air Quality
April showers bring May flowers. What many don’t know, however, is that they also bring “good” air quality.
Spring’s rainy, breezy weather helps disperse air pollutants. This typically results in “good” air quality on most days. Spring months are a great time to get outside and enjoy all that the Inland Northwest has to offer.
Unfortunately, spring is often short-lived in our area. Our cool, refreshing spring days are quickly replaced by the hot, dry days of summer. Once summer hits, we’ll experience more “moderate” air quality days, which can quickly worsen with possible wildfires and dust storms.
Why care about the air?
With every breath we take, our lungs are exposed to the world around us, filtering over 2,000 gallons of air a day. Breathing dirty air inflames and destroys lung tissue, and weakens the lungs' defenses against contaminants and infection. Air pollution also irritates the circulatory system aggravating existing cardio-vascular conditions.
Air pollution affects us all, especially the young, elderly, and those with respiratory and heart ailments. Even healthy people can suffer when pollution levels are high. Symptoms may include watery eyes, runny nose, coughing and wheezing. Breathing dirty air is especially hard on the elderly, pregnant women, as well as young children and infants whose lungs are still developing.
Fine particles pollution can be a concern in the spring. Fine particles are microscopic in size and result from combustion, such as wood heating, outdoor burning and driving. Numerous scientific studies have linked exposure to these tiny particles - approximately 1/30th the size of a human hair - with serious human health problems including premature death in people with heart and lung disease; nonfatal heart attacks; and increases hospital admissions and doctor and emergency room visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
You can help
We all have a role in maintaining clean, healthful air quality. Whether at home, at work, or somewhere in between, there are ways to reduce your contribution to air pollution all year long! Click on a category for ideas to reduce air pollution.