When we moved to Los Angeles in 2000, we settled into a nice pocket in the San Fernando Valley. It was close to work and the rent was affordable. All we heard about from our friends who lived on the West Side was that the expensive rent and housing prices on that side of town were worth it because the air quality was better. They would go on and on about how the ocean breeze cleansed the air of pollution, therefore making it a healthier living environment than the Valley. We moved to the West Side in 2005. In 2007, our youngest son was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 18 months old.
According to CaliforniaBreathing.org, approximately 1, 250, 000 children and adults have been diagnosed with asthma in Los Angeles county and that number is rising. Not only does air pollution cause asthma, it also exacerbates asthma symptoms for those who have asthma. That is why it is extremely important to pay attention to air quality conditions. Looking out the window won’t tell you if the air quality is bad. Why? Because smog isn’t the only indicator of air pollution, it is also the fine particulate matter, which can be invisible. This fine particulate matter gets down deep in the lungs and stays there. The more active a person is outside, like children running and playing and having fun, the deeper this fine particulate matter goes into the lungs.
The above map obtained by the South Coast Air Quality Management District shows that most of Los Angeles is having an orange air quality day as I write this post. What does that mean? For my son, and for over a million other people who live in Los Angeles, it means that they really shouldn’t be going outside and doing any kind of physical activity because they belong to a “sensitive group” due to asthma. After reading this post, please go to the South Coast Air Quality Management District website to learn more about air quality and to monitor the air quality for your family.
Did you know that a very large portion of Los Angeles (including the West Side and coastal communities) had a red air quality day on New Year’s Day 2014? As you can see above, a red air quality day is unhealthy for everyone! Stay informed and keep your family healthy. Check the South Coast Air Quality Management District every day (don’t sign up for email forecasts because they are always incorrect…you need to check the website every day) if you have children, especially if you have a child with asthma. Limit their activity on orange and red days, keep them inside if you can and please make sure that they aren’t running around and breathing deeply on these days. Remember to also keep your windows and doors closed. We don’t let our son go outside or even in the car on orange or red days. Why? Just look at the image below and you’ll understand.
I will be keeping track of the number of orange and red air quality days (for zones 2 & 3) since January 1st, 2014.
Check back here for updates.
Red – 1
Orange – 10