Tips to Help You Protect Your Health When the Air Quality is Poor

Pulmonologist Boyd Hehn, MD

Pulmonologist Boyd Hehn, MD

With the temperatures soaring this weekend, the quality of the air in the Delaware Valley is expected to be poor.

In fact, a Code Orange Air Quality Alert has been declared for the Philadelphia metropolitan area including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia and much of South Jersey.

A Code Orange means that air pollution in the region could be unhealthy for those who are sensitive, including children, the elderly and people with health conditions such as asthma, lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or emphysema as well as those with heart conditions.

“When the air quality gets bad like this a lot of people with lung disease, particularly asthmatics, need to be prepared,” says Jefferson pulmonologist Boyd Hehn, MD.

And he offers some tips that can help:

  • Stay in air conditioning. If you don’t have it you can go to the mall or another location with AC.
  • Stay hydrated. Believe it or not asthmatic airways dry out it is easier to have an asthma attack
  • Make sure your medicines are available and know how to use them properly
  • Take it easy. Avoid strenuous activities and exercise outdoors when the air quality is poor.
  • Review your action plan
  • Check the air quality levels in your area. The federal Environmental Protection Agency’s AIRNow website is a good source of this information.

“The next couple days when the weather is so bad be prepared and if you start having an exacerbation and your usual routine does not provide relief then you need to seek medical attention,” Dr. Hehn says.

If you have severe and persistent asthma that is affecting your life despite taking daily controller medications and requiring frequent reliever medication use, Jefferson is offering a new non-drug outpatient procedure available.

Bronchial thermoplasty has been shown to increase asthma control and improve quality of life. The outpatient procedure is performed by specially trained pulmonologists at Jefferson. It uses  radiofrequency energy (or heat), delivered to the airway walls in the lungs to reduce excess airway smooth muscle and limit the muscle’s ability to constrict the airways.

This helps you breathe better and can reduce your symptoms.

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