Ozone is an invisible gas made up of three oxygen atoms. It is least curtailed risky pollutant even in developed countries. It is also called smog and is harmful to breathe. Ozone can be good and bad for us. Ozone existing in the stratosphere or upper atmosphere is useful for us as it protects from the sun’s ultraviolet rays’ radiation. The same ozone on earth level or troposphere is detrimental for lungs when it is breathed.

Ozone comes into existence in the presence of sunlight and it reacts with pollutants emitted from vehicles, industries, power plants and the like. This happens more on a hot summer day. It is harmful to breathing.

The vulnerability

The health problems erupting in humans after inhaling ozone show in symptoms like coughing, short of breath, and lung damage. The vulnerability shows in the lung’s chances of infection, worsening of lung disease, enhanced asthma attacks, more reaction to allergens and intensified heart and lung disease. These symptoms get visible a day after inhaling the gas.

All those who stay outdoors when ozone levels are high are at risk. The vulnerability of certain groups is more. Included in the list are; –

•    Children as well as teens as there are in the process of development and they breathe more air compared to adults.

•    Senior citizens

•    Outdoor activity professional or exercising outdoors

•    Patients with lung ailments like asthma, COPD.

•    Cardiovascular disease is also linked to it.

Tips to protect the lungs

Ozone pollution prevails during ozone season starting from April and reaches its zenith during peak summers. The pollutants formed from reaction with car exhaust, gas stations, etc linger around the earth’s surface giving rise to health issues. Even, low levels of ozone adversely affect health. The lungs get inflamed and breathing issues get aggravated.

Ozone breathing will be detrimental for health more so on a hot sunny day when ozone levels are high. Take the following precautions; –

•    When ozone levels are high select a reduced strenuous exercise outdoors

•    Increase rest sessions when undertaking the outdoor activity.

•    Finish outdoor activities in the morning or the evening or postpone it for better days.

•    Stay indoors in the afternoon. The ozone is at peak levels currently.

•    Work indoors for ozone levels will be low there. Go for a walk in the mall.

•    Before going out check ozone level predictions. In some countries, an orange code stands for air unhealthy for sensitive people. A red code alerts everyone to avoid outdoor air.

•    Eat foods like beans, blueberries, etc which are rich in antioxidants. They neutralize the effect of pollutants and ozone exposure.

•    Keep away from smoking 

Studies have shown that if traffic is restricted the asthma attacks get reduced as the ozone level goes down. The government should come out with pollutant regulations to safeguard air quality.