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 anticipated high levels of smoke from fireworks.
In recent years, the LLCHD Air Quality Program has observed 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) reaching unhealthy levels. 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.
Gary Bergstrom, Air Quality Program Supervisor with the LLCHD, said that most people will not be affected. Those most at risk are youth, the elderly and those sensitive individuals with respiratory or heart conditions. He said when the tiny particles and gases in smoke from fireworks are breathed into the lungs, it can cause asthma attacks, worsen chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and cause angina (chest pain) in some people with heart disease. People at risk should avoid extensive physical activity outdoors or remain indoors with windows and doors closed. Those who experience health effects should contact a medical care provider.
The LLCHD recommends 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. Bergstrom said that even a few hours of exposure to high levels of particle pollution may affect those with underlying health conditions.
The LLCHD monitors air quality 24 hours a day. The AQI for Lincoln is updated hourly and is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: air). Residents are encouraged to check the AQI the next few days before doing any strenuous activities outside.
For more information on LLCHD, visit health.lincoln.ne.gov.