apocalypse gas mask

Brown Cloud of the Apocalypse

It’s monsoon season in Arizona and this is what my phone screen has looked like for the past several days.

Dust Storm Alert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is what all the fuss is about.
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From an allergy perspective, monsoon season is a mixed bag.

On the positive side, monsoon moisture and rain removes the dust and pollen that tends to hang in the air forever when the air is dry.  Also, the damp ground is less likely to be picked up by a dust storm, carried across the valley and dumped in your pool (and lungs).

On the negative side, monsoon storms pick up an incredible amount of dust which is carried across the valley and dumped in your pool (and lungs).

Ozone and particulates are the primary contributors to air pollution in Phoenix and both can reach unhealthy levels in the summer.  Particles of organic and inorganic mater small enough to stay suspended in the air and also small enough to travel deep into the lungs when inhaled are the visible danger when dust storms blow through the valley.  Ozone is more insidious but a serious risk for people with heart and lung disease.

This is an excerpt from the Arizona Department of Air Quality forecast for today and yesterday showing the ozone and particulate levels and a comment:Untitled design (50) (1)

“Circling back to ozone…lack of daytime cloud cover and light winds, until outflows from the north came, gave ozone a serious boost in the afternoon hours Wednesday. Seven monitors did exceed. An Ozone High Pollution Advisory remains in effect today and will be extended through Friday” .

The air quality forecast warning suggests that “sensitive groups” (which would be most of our patients) and active children and adults (which is most everyone else) should limit time spent out of doors, particularly if your activity calls for breathing.

If you would like to learn more about air pollution and ozone in Arizona you can find it here and here.  Information about air pollution and exercise in Arizona can be found here.