Outdoor air pollution: counseling and exposure risk reduction.
Air pollution is monitored on a daily basis in large population centers in the United States and reported to the general public through a variety of media outlets as the Air Quality Index. This index is based on current national air quality standards for criteria air pollutants established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Patients at increased risk for adverse effects of inhaled air pollutants include those who have been diagnosed with chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease, although others may also be at risk during periods of unusually high pollutant levels. These patients should be educated regarding what symptoms may be related to poor air quality and how they can monitor the Air Quality Index to modify their activity to prevent symptoms and other adverse events. Heavy outdoor exertion should be avoided on days expected to have poor air quality, or performed earlier in the day on days when outdoor activity cannot be avoided. We recommend advising patients in clear, strong, personalized language that air pollution is harmful and that persons with cardiopulmonary disease are at elevated risk of experiencing a serious adverse health effect from exposure.
Shofer, S; Chen, T-M; Gokhale, J; Kuschner, WG
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