As temperatures soared today, air quality plummeted, prompting the New York State Health Department to issue a health advisory until 11 p.m. CBS 2 HD has what you need to know to protect you and your family.
How would you describe the air quality today?
“Unbearable,” one New Yorker said.
“Very muggy, you can barely breathe,” said another.
“Heavy,” added another.
There is a good reason why the air feels so heavy. The sun’s heat is essentially cooking all the chemical compounds and pollutants lingering within it.
“Making the particles that people would breathe normally, more dense more heavy and more difficult to exchange in and out of the lungs,” said Dr. Hassan Khouli, director of the Critical Care Unit at Roosevelt Hospital.
Particles including dust, allergens and even car exhaust. This chemical soup combines with naturally occurring nitrogen oxide in the air to create a “smog” of ground level ozone gas.
“We are trapped in this atmosphere,” Dr. Khouli said.
Khouli said this thick, heavy air not only makes it difficult for us to breathe, but also to think.
“We start to feel slow, slow in our decisions and our reactions to different things,” he said.
Feeling sluggish is your first sign that you need to come in out of the heat.
“If you see yourself being slow to react and having problem use your judgment as much as possible. Try to get out of that area,” Dr. Khouli said.
Khouli said keeping hydrated is key. Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to perspire and avoid strenuous outdoor activity in areas — like the city — that are more plagued by the smog.
If you suffer from chronic health problems, you certainly want to stay indoors. The good news is some of the rain we are expecting Wednesday should give us a break and clear out some of the pollutants in our atmosphere.