Check the AQI and Get Outside

People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease are more affected by poor air quality. Just in the US, people affected include:

And one person can have all these conditions!

I'm Air Aware
I'm Air Aware

In March, CDC and EPA launched “Air Aware,” a social media campaign to raise awareness of the risks of poor air quality and how AirNow and the AQI can help protect the health of people with asthma, COPD, and heart disease.

Exercise is key in both pulmonary and cardiac rehabilitation and helps maintain health. It’s ok to be active! But the people most sensitive to air pollution should take steps to protect themselves. These steps include:

Older people, and people with lung or heart disease, are more sensitive to adverse health effects from air pollution. Short-term exposure to unhealthy air quality contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular complaints. Short- and long-term exposure to particle pollution causes cardiovascular health effects and mortality, and is likely to cause respiratory health effects.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that people at higher risk of health problems caused by air pollution use the Air Quality Index (AQI) to learn about their local air quality and actions they can take to reduce exposure.

Learn more about the Air Quality Index at

Learn more about Pulmonary Rehabilitation (68 pp., 6MB, about PDF)

Learn more about Cardiac Rehabilitation


R, Gong J, Barratt B, Ohman-Strickland P, Ernst S, Kelly FJ, Zhang JJ, Collins P1, Cullinan P, Chung KF. Respiratory and cardiovascular responses to walking down a traffic-polluted road compared with walking in a traffic-free area in participants aged 60 years and older with chronic lung or heart disease and age-matched healthy controls: a randomised, crossover study. Lancet. 2018 Jan 27;391(10118):339-349.
Wheaton AG, Ford ES, Cunningham TJ, Croft JB. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hospital visits, and comorbidities—National Survey of Residential Care Facilities, 2010. J Aging Health. 2015;27:480–499.