The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today issued a Health Advisory for people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions like COPD due to high levels of smoke from fireworks.
In recent years, LLCHD has found high levels of particulate air pollution from the night of July 3 through the morning of July 5, resulting in the Air Quality Index (AQI) level of "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups." Fireworks may be used in the City of Lincoln from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3 and 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. July 4.
"Those most affected are youth, the elderly and those sensitive individuals with respiratory or heart conditions," said Chris Schroeder, Air Quality Program Supervisor with the LLCHD. "Individuals at risk should avoid extensive physical activity outdoors or remain indoors with windows and doors closed. Those who experience health effects should consult their doctor."
Schroeder said most people will not be affected, but warned that even a few hours of exposure to high levels of particles may aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and increase the chances of respiratory infection. For people with heart disease, short-term exposures to high levels of particle pollution have been linked to angina, heart attacks and arrhythmia.
LLCHD is recommending that at-risk individuals take extra precautions during the peak hours of air pollution, which will likely be July 4 near dusk and through the mid-day on July 5.
LLCHD monitors air quality 24 hours a day. The AQI for Lincoln is updated daily and can be found at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air). Residents are encouraged to check the AQI the next few days before doing any strenuous activities outside.