Air quality is important; it affects each and every one of us. Even if you don't think about it, it is having an impact on how you live each day. As you go for your morning run, you are being affected by the air quality. Your kids are being affected by the air quality as they play on the school playground. Your vegetable garden is affected by the air quality. Your pets are affected by the air quality. Each and every one of us – especially the young, the old, and those with health problems – are affected by air quality. Fortunately there are many great air quality resources right at your fingertips that can help.
WebMD Check Your Air Quality
At this site you can check the air quality for your area. Simply enter your zip code and it will tell you how your local air quality measures on a scale from good to hazardous. It is simple, fast, and easy to use.
The Weather Channel Air Quality and Pollution Forecast
This helpful tool will tell you both the local air quality forecast level and the principal pollutant. While you enter your state, the tool will show you all of the larger towns or counties for that state so you can see what the air is like in and surrounding your local area.
State of the Air (American Lung Association)
Use their Report Card tool with your state or zip code to get a Grade for your local air. Once you have gotten your grade, you may want to stick around and browse the site, as it has a great deal of resources. You can help join the fight for better air quality by sharing your story or donating to this important cause. You can also download their air quality report, which provides some very useful reading.
Each of these sites are helpful for anyone in the United States who wants to know more about their local air quality. There are many reasons to utilize these resources for yourself and for those you care about. Here are a few suggestions on how to use these tools in your everyday life:
Before your next vacation. Try the tools to get an idea of what the air quality is like at your vacation destination. While you may not want to let poor air quality keep you from visiting someplace new, understanding the air quality forecast can help you choose which activities will be safer to enjoy. For example, if an area does not have great air quality, you probably won't want to spend your whole day doing strenuous outdoor activities. These tools can be especially helpful if you are a frequent traveler, as you can look up the air quality for different towns and states before you plan to go. Why not know beforehand, rather than be surprised when you arrive?
Before your next run or outdoor workout. For the "weekend warrior" athlete, these tools can be particularly helpful. Many people enjoy a morning jog or other outdoor exercise to start their day, but few remember that the quality of the air they breathe can affect the quality of their work-out. If you won't miss your daily Tai Chi in the park, it's important to know what the air quality will be like so that you can plan the rest of your day accordingly. Even just walking Fido around your neighborhood can feel different depending on the quality of the air. Use these tools to know if you can be very active for the day, if you should do a lighter outdoor workout, or if you should plan to work out during non-peak hours.
To give the elderly, young and the chronically ill a bit of TLC. With these tools, it is much easier to be a caregiver to anyone in your life. Whether you care for an elderly parent, grandparent, young children or someone who is chronically ill, they likely will be vulnerable to changes in air quality. Knowing the level of the air quality will be helpful in planning a safe and healthy day for them. You'll know if today is a perfect day for a picnic in the park, or one better spent inside enjoying a movie.