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The original item was published from 8/12/2021 10:45:59 AM to 8/15/2021 12:00:09 AM.

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Posted on: August 12, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Ozone action day - Air quality is unhealthy for sensitive groups

Air Quality Alert

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued an Ozone Action Day and a code orange air quality alert for Thursday, and likely on Friday, for Mercer County.

A code orange air quality alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include people 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness. These groups should avoid strenuous activities, especially during the afternoon and early evening hours. 

The heat and humidity will continue with mostly sunny skies, light southwesterly winds, and hot temperatures. The increased humidity will allow fine particle concentrations to remain in the moderate category. It is expected that the oppressive heat will continue into Friday with similarly hazy, hot, and humid conditions as the past few days. The threat for afternoon thunderstorm development remains a possibility, which may help to limit ozone formation for isolated areas. 

High temperatures kill people every year. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, yet more than 700 people die from extreme heat every year in the United States. Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. 

Some measures you can take to stay safe in this extreme weather are:

  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest, and stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. 
  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling device during an extreme heat event. 
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Muscle cramping can occur and may be an early sign of heat-related illness. 
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you. 
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter. 
  • If you must be outside, wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package. 
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

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