Air Pollution Advisory issued for Hillsborough, Pinellas

Air quality report

If you have problems breathing, you're probably having an even harder time breathing right now.

Both Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are under an air quality advisory because of higher levels of Ozone closer to ground level.

We spoke with air quality experts from the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Agency who say when the area experiences dry seasons, ozone levels will be higher.

Elevated ozone levels may affect the elderly, very young or citizens with respiratory ailments

The Tampa Skyline, which is clearly visible during most days, has been hard to see these past few days because of smog.

Why so much smog in our area?

It's because of the recent wildfires that were blazing, just North of Tampa.

The fires along with the heat have created higher than normal ozone levels, which is a main component of smog. So, it's Making it harder for people to breath.

Dr. Nataly Saldana, MD with St. Joseph’s Hospital-North treated a teenager over the weekend who had issues breathing after walking her dog for long periods of time.

“Came in with an allergic reaction and shortness of breath due to smoke inhalation,” says Dr.Saldana, MD. “ EMS brought her in and they said she had multiple hives all over her body. She was experiencing shortness of breath.”

Dr. Saldana knows first had what unhealthy air can do to children, the elderly and anyone who already has trouble breathing.

“I experienced just walking my dog, just seeing the smoke and having burning in my eyes and experiencing that myself. I can just imagine what it's like if you live closer to the wildfires,” says Dr.Saldana, MD.

Bad air quality in our area is nothing new.

The American Lung Association releases an annual report called the “State of the Air.”

All counties in the United States are listed.

                              2015                     2016                     2017

Hillsborough          F                            F                            F

Pinellas                 B                            C                            C

Polk                      C                            D                           B

Sarasota               B                            C                            C

Pasco                  A                            B                            B

Manatee              B                            C                            C

As you can see Hillsborough has received F’s since 2015. Local air quality experts say the overall air has gotten better in the county. Typically, when a county sees high levels of ozone for a few days that will make their grade drop. 

The best way to stay safe, avoid the outdoors for long periods of time.

High levels of Ozone typically go away after the sun goes down but this is something we will continue seeing for quite some time. Dry seasons lead to high levels of ozone in our air.
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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