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Heat Triggers Pollution Advisory For Metro

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the second consecutive day, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a health advisory Monday because of air pollution caused by the heat.

The MPCA says that the ozone concentration is at its highest point during the evening between 5 – 9 p.m. They advise that people should avoid too much outdoor activity during this time of day.

Despite the advisory, people are still spending time outside, and many are taking precautions.

On the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul, elementary school kids are enrolled in sports camps all week. They’re armed with water bottles and the knowledge they need to take frequent breaks.

Will O’Toole-Cousins is a 10 year old who’s learning how to play football. He also has asthma.

“I brought water and stuff just to be careful because I got dehydrated a little too much a couple of days ago and my kidneys started hurting,” O’Toole-Cousins said.

His respiratory problems make him part of the group most at-risk when there is an air pollution health advisory. In fact, all children and the elderly should be careful in these conditions.

Rick Strassman supervises the air monitoring unit at the MPCA.

“On an ozone alert or advisory day, it’s best to go inside [to] air conditioning, where ozone levels are lower. But all in all, just take it easy, don’t over-exert yourself, don’t do any prolonged exercise outdoors,” Strassman said. “High levels of ozone just prevent the body from actually absorbing oxygen. So it makes it more difficult to breathe. You may feel short of breath, unable to catch your breath.”

And if you do choose to be outside in these hot and humid conditions, don’t underestimate the importance of getting plenty of water before, during and after running around.

Steven Zingsheim plays football and runs track and field for Hamline. He was out practicing Monday.

“Hydrating before a workout is always a good plan. Then when you are working out, take sips of warm water. You don’t want to chug it down because that could make you sick. And if you drink cold water it could be a shock to your body since it’s already so warm,” Zingsheim said.

To prevent making the ozone problem worse, you can reduce driving. The pollutants that are emitted from our cars and trucks are building blocks for ozone.

Refrain from mowing your lawn, and fuel your car in the morning or later in the day.

The MPCA expects cooler weather overnight will help to drastically improve the air quality. They don’t expect they will need to issue an advisory on Tuesday.

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