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Have asthma? Limit time outdoors as SC DHEC issues air pollution advisory in Upstate

Children, people with asthma and older adults should be cautious if you go outside Monday.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a “Code Orange” advisory for air pollution levels in the Upstate.

The advisory is due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone, which can create breathing problems, according to DHEC. This is especially true for at-risk populations such as children, people who work outdoors and people with respiratory problems.

“A Code Orange forecast indicates that ground level ozone concentrations are expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people with lung disease, older adults and children,” reads a statement from S.C. DHEC. “Sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion, take more breaks, and do less intense activities, especially during afternoon and early evening hours.”

The Rock Hill school district is following DHEC’s guidelines for student activity, according to a post on the district’s Facebook page Monday. Children can be outside for recess and physical education, but are advised to take more breaks for longer activities such as outdoor athletics, according to the district.

“Code Yellow” conditions are expected for the Midlands Monday, meaning people with respiratory conditions should limit outdoor exertion, according to DHEC.

By Tuesday, the Upstate is expected to reach “Code Yellow” conditions, according to DHEC. The Midlands Tuesday will be in good condition, with no air quality-related health effects expected.

High ozone conditions are common on hot, sunny days with stagnant air, according to DHEC. Cars, trucks and lawn equipment can also contribute to air pollution.

To reduce ozone pollution, DHEC recommends residents:

  • Drive less by carpooling, walking or riding a bike.
  • Reduce idling and turn off the engine if you expect to be stopped for more than 30 seconds, except in traffic.
  • Refuel cars after 6 p.m. and don’t top off the tank.
  • Use gas powered lawn equipment after 6 p.m.

For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/ozone.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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