Tag Archives: ozone

DHEC in the News: Daily ozone forecast, opioids, flu

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

DHEC to provide daily ozone forecast starting April 1

COLUMBIA, SC – Ozone season begins April 1, marking the start of daily forecasts for ground-level ozone from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

High concentrations of ozone can create breathing problems, especially for children, people with asthma or other respiratory problems, and adults who work or exercise outdoors. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ozone can also cause tree and crop damage.

Opioid Overdose Deaths Continue Their Rise In The U.S., CDC Study Finds

According to the CDC’s Morbidity and Weekly Report issued yesterday, opioid overdose deaths continued to rise in the U.S. from 2015 to 2016, despite greater public awareness, enhanced provider awareness of prescribing behavior, as well as added measures put in place throughout communities for treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

Flu is still hanging around in some regions, CDC warns

(CNN)You may want to take a little extra time washing your hands if you’re visiting relatives this Passover and Easter weekend. Doctors are still seeing a number of patients with flu, but the numbers are declining amid an intense flu season.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed four more flu-associated pediatric deaths in the 12th week of the season, bringing the total to 137 since October. Puerto Rico and 16 states were still seeing widespread flu cases during the week ending March 24, the CDC said Friday in its weekly surveillance report.

The Ozone Forecasting Season is Upon Us

Spring is here and that means the return of the ozone forecasting season (April 1 through Sept. 30). As we drive in our vehicles, the exhaust contributes to ground-level ozone in our atmosphere. Under certain conditions, ozone levels can be high enough that an Ozone Action Day, or “orange day” alert is issued. High levels can adversely impact people who are sensitive to ozone pollution, especially children, the elderly, and those with breathing problems.

You can check the daily ozone forecast during the season in one of two ways:

1)  Visit www.scdhec.gov/apps/environment/ozoneforecast/.

2)  Sign up to receive the ozone forecast at www.enviroflash.info.

In the event an Ozone Action Day is issued, there are some things you can do to help curb ozone pollution:

1)  If you live close enough, consider walking or biking to work or to run errands.

2)  Consider carpooling with people who live in your neighborhood and work close to you. To find a carpool, try www.erideshare.com.

3)  If your neighborhood is served by public transportation, take the bus.

4)  Telecommute from home or satellite office (if applicable to your work schedule).

If we all do our part to reduce the effects of ozone pollution, we can improve our air quality here in South Carolina!

Ozone Pollution and Your Health

By Elizabeth Dieck

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One of the most common air pollutants in the U.S. is ozone, or smog. You may know that air pollution is a concern for people with heart or lung disease, but other groups can also be at risk, such as children and teenagers, older adults (men over 45 and women over 55) and people who are physically active outdoors.

In South Carolina, a daily ozone forecast is issued from April through September. You can use the forecast to help plan your outdoor activities. Let’s say that ozone air quality where you live is forecast to be code orange tomorrow. There’s a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of ozone you breathe. For instance, if you’re a runner – even if you’re healthy – ozone in the air can be harmful to you. Reduce the amount of ozone you breathe by planning your run for the morning (when ozone levels generally are lower), shortening your run, walking instead or running on a treadmill indoors (where ozone levels are lower). For gardeners, you can do less-strenuous chores, like light raking or pruning. You can also take more frequent breaks – resting reduces your exposure.

Stay alert this summer. Find your ozone forecast at AirNow, or receive daily forecast emails through EnviroFlash. A free AirNow app for iPhone or Android is also available. To access South Carolina forecasts by phone, call 1(866) 238-4973.