Winter pollutants can lead to future health problems

PHOENIX - The colder temperatures may have some turning to their fireplaces to keep warm. However, for every fireplace used, more pollutants are added to our air.

Doctors say the higher amount of pollutants could increase the risk for health issues, particularly in young children.

Nearly every weekend, you'll find many kids and their families enjoying the outdoors, often participating in a variety of sports activities. However, while the cooler temperatures make being outdoors enjoyable, sometimes the air we're breathing isn't always so fresh.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) says PM 2.5 or tiny particles that are the result of fire or combustion can be some of the worst pollutants we find in our air during the cooler months. The concentration tends to worsen when it's colder because many people turn to their fireplaces to keep warm.

There's a lot more to this pollutant than the haze it creates over our metro area, though.

Pediatrician David Curran says the tiny particles can create problems in the lower lungs for infants, children, and adolescents.

Exposure to a high amount of pollutants, often found on high pollution advisory days, can lead to respiratory problems like allergies or asthma even in the healthiest children.

Curran says there are things parents can do to minimize their child's risk. He says to first consider alternate plans on high pollution days.

For those kids that do head outside on air quality alert days, he says it's important to get the pollutants off their body at the end of the day. He recommends that children shower immediately after a day outdoors and that they blow their noses to clear out the pollutants.

For more information about Maricopa county's air quality go to cleanairmakemore.com

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