News and Information

Summer Ozone Levels Create Dangerous Breathing Conditions


Dr. Jay Hendler, Pulmonologist at CaroMont Health, Weighs In

Summer is a great time to be outdoors. But scorching temperatures, along with poor air quality, are dangerous combinations this time of year, especially for people with breathing problems. If you’ve watched the news lately, there have been warnings about “ozone-advisory” or “code orange” denoting potentially dangerous air quality conditions. Ozone, a molecule created by chemical reactions between pollutants in the area and organic compounds in the atmosphere, can be dangerous to your health, especially at high concentrations. The summer months tend to be the times when concentrations are highest due to the increase in temperatures and sunlight.

“People with respiratory conditions are more sensitive to the effects of ozone and other pulmonary irritants,” said Jay Hendler, MD, Director of Pulmonary Medicine at CaroMont Health and physician at CaroMont Pulmonary Medicine. “These atmospheric conditions can trigger asthma-like symptoms ranging from mild to severe depending on the person. In some cases, symptoms can even lead to hospitalization, which is why it’s important to know your triggers and learn how to avoid them.”

In general, children may be more affected by ozone levels because they typically spend more time outdoors, have faster breathing rates and have lungs that are still developing. Kids with asthma are even more at risk for developing triggers. Active adults of all ages who exercise or work outdoors are considered among the more “sensitive” groups because they are exposed to ozone on a regular basis.

Dr. Hendler sees a range of respiratory conditions. Asthma is a prevalent condition among adults and children, especially during this time of year when ozone levels are more dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 14 people have asthma resulting in more than 14 million doctor visits and 439,000 hospital stays each year in the United States.

On days—or, weeks in some cases—when air quality is low, Dr. Hendler suggests following these simple, effective tips for protecting you and your family from the potential danger lurking outside:

  • Monitor air quality alerts in your local area by watching the news or consulting online sources.
  • When air quality is poor, try to limit time outside or plan your schedule so you’re outdoors in the early morning or late evening when the risks are lower.
  • Improve your air quality at home by running air conditioning.
  • Change up your activity. Instead of walking outside, maybe walk inside the mall, visit a museum or plan a trip to the movies.
  • Limit outdoor sports if at all possible. Talk to your children’s coach to see if practice can be moved inside the gym.
  • If you have asthma, keep taking your medications and have your rescue bronchodilator on hand. Talk to your doctor about increasing your medicines during high alert periods if you are having more difficulty.

“Everyone should heed ozone warnings to stay healthy,” said Hendler. “For asthma sufferers, however, the better informed you are about your condition, the better control you will have over your asthma symptoms and overall quality of life.”

About Jay Hendler, MD
CaroMont Health welcomed Dr. Hendler to the medical team in June 2016. Dr. Hendler received his medical degree from New York University of Medicine in New York City, NY, and completed his Internship/Rresidency at Jacobi Medical Center/Bronx Municipal Medical Center and Fellowships at Montefiore Medical Center, both located in NY.

Dr. Hendler is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Critical Care Medicine, Pulmonary Disease and Internal Medicine. His specialties include: asthma, COPD, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension, interstitial lung disease and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

Dr. Hendler believes to patients one must “deliver personal, compassionate care with cutting-edge treatments and improve the quality of life.” Outside of the office, he enjoys golf, astronomy and playing keyboard in his rock band.

For more information about Dr. Hendler and CaroMont Pulmonary Medicine, click here:


Categories: Health