Air Quality Index aids those with breathing issues

Weather plays a big role in the air we breathe every day.

The Air Quality Index measures five different pollutants including ground level ozone and particulate matter, both of which pose the greatest threat to human health. Both of these also tend to rise during the upcoming summer months.

Ground level ozone forms when chemicals react with heat and sunlight. Particle pollution consists of microscopic dust and dirt. Both of these can cause difficulties breathing, especially for people who have asthma.

We play closer attention to the AQI during the warmer months mostly because more people are outside.

We're also more likely to see lingering high pressure systems, which create those hot, windless days. These days may be great for getting a tan poolside, but without any wind, the air becomes stagnant, allowing pollutants to linger.

Thunderstorms, however, create plenty of wind and cause rain, helping to cleanse the air.

It may not be as impressive as a tornado or a blizzard, but on days when pollutants are hazardous, it may be best to stay inside: the same you'd do for a severe thunderstorm.

Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on twitter, @StormShieldApp and Facebook. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.

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