Poor Air Quality Across the US: What You Need to Know


Amid mass poor air quality exposure due to ongoing Canadian wildfires, Lungcast reviews air quality index, signs and symptoms of acute and long-term poor air exposure, high-risk patient populations, and the concerning future of particle pollution exposure.

Episode Highlights

0:15 Intro
1:23 What is the Air Quality Index?
3:14 Risk factors of poor air quality
4:30 Acute signs and symptoms
6:42 Recommendations for patients with pre-existing conditions
8:09 How long will this last?
10:28 When to resume livelihood
11:12 The long-term impact of air pollution exposure
14:02 Outro

An array of early-season wildfires throughout Canada has resulted in mass exposure to extremely high and harmful rates of particulate air pollution exposure throughout regions of the US. Highly populated Northeast cities including New York have reported record-high Air Quality Index (AQI) scores over the last few days, as reports on Thursday show the wildfire runoff will continue to travel through the South and Midwest.

Though wildfire pollutant exposure is no new subject to Americans, this latest incident is the first, if not greatest, instance of poor air quality effect that millions are facing. How it impacts an individual's respiratory health—both acutely and long-term—is dependent on a litany of pre-existing factors and reactive strategies.

In a special episode of Lungcast, American Lung Association (ALA) Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, MD, speaks with producer Kevin Kunzmann, Associate Editorial Director of HCPLive, on the clinical and public health impacts of poor air quality exposure.

Rizzo discusses what comprises a region’s AQI, the risk factors of acute air pollution, what patient populations are at greater risk of respiratory impairment, and what the future of climate- and public-level health may look like in relation to these wildfires.

Additionally, the pair review best individual strategies for exposure prevention and respiratory care during high-AQI stages, for persons and clinicians alike.

Lungcast is a monthly respiratory health podcast series from the ALA produced by HCPLive.

Subscribe to Lungcast on Spotify here or listen to the latest episode below:

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