ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Albuquerque has issued a Health Alert due to elevated ozone levels and smoke that will be in effect from Tuesday, June 22 at 3:30 p.m. through Wednesday, June 23 at 10 a.m. Individuals with respiratory conditions in the City of Albuquerque as well as Bernalillo County are urged to limit outdoor activity during this time.
The city’s Air Quality Program issues Health Alerts due to elevated levels of smoke or dust as both are types of particulate matter. Individuals who are sensitive to particulate matter such as those who have asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory and heart diseases are encouraged to limit outdoor activity.
The City of Albuquerque offers the following steps that you can take during health alerts:
- Limit your time spent outdoors and avoid outdoor exercise.
- Schools and senior citizen facilities may want to provide indoor activities to minimize exposure to elevated outdoor particulate levels.
- Keep windows and doors closed. If needed for comfort, use air conditioners or heating systems on recycle/recirculation mode.
- If symptoms of heart or lung disease occur, (including shortness of breath, chest tightness, chest pain, palpitations or unusual fatigue) contact your health care provider.
- Individuals with heart or lung disease should follow their health management plan from their health care provider.
- Asthmatic individuals should follow a prescribed asthma management plan.
If it is smoky outside find out how far you can see. First, decide if the visibility is closer to 5 miles, 3 miles or 1 mile. pick a landmark you are familiar with and see if you can see it. Facing away from the sun, look for landmarks such as mountains, mesas, hills, or buildings in those mile ranges to help you estimate visibility. If these objects are not easy to see in these mile ranges, then decide:
Is the visibility under 5 miles? If you can see less than 5 miles, the air quality is unhealthy for young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness; they should minimize outdoor activity. These people should reschedule outdoor recreational activities for a day with better air quality. It is okay for adults in good health to be out and about but they should periodically check visibility especially when fires are nearby.
Is the visibility just about 3 miles? Young children, adults over age 65, pregnant women, and people with heart and/or lung disease, asthma or other respiratory illness should avoid all outdoor activities. These people should stay indoors. All outdoor activities should be avoided, including running errands. Everyone else should try to stay indoors as much as possible. All outdoor recreational activities should be rescheduled for a day with better air quality.
Is the visibility about 1 mile? If you can see less than 1 mile that means the air quality is unhealthy for everyone. People should remain indoors and avoid all outdoor activities including running errands. Unless an evacuation has been issued, stay inside your home, indoor workplace, or in a safe shelter.
Regardless of the visibility, if you are feeling as though you are having health effects from smoke, take precautions to avoid exposure to smoke and see your doctor or health professional as needed.
Since the southwest United States typically has very low humidity, visibility can be an effective tool to determine if it is healthy to be outside when smoke is present. The visibility test is not appropriate or effective in areas with high humidity, such as the southeastern United States, where water vapor (fog) may limit visibility.