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A value of 50 represents good air quality with little potential to harm public health, but AQI values under 100 are generally considered satisfactory.
During a Code Orange, AQI values jump to the 101-150 range.
Who’s at risk during a Code Orange air quality alert?
According to the EPA, “people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.”
Those with asthma and people who are active outdoors are also at risk.
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How to prevent health issues during a Code Orange air quality alert
To avoid being exposed to unhealthy air quality during a Code Orange smog alert, the EPA recommends spending less time outside exerting yourself. For example, you may want to reduce the amount of time spent in your yard or opt for a walk instead of a jog to avoid heavy exertion that causes you to breathe hard.
If you begin experiencing any unusual coughing, chest discomfort, breathing difficulty, fatigue or wheezing, it’s especially important to reduce your activity level.
It’s also recommended that people with heart disease, such as angina, try to avoid sources of carbon monoxide, like heavy traffic.
Learn more about the AQI at airnow.gov.