You can help keep the air clean every day | NevadaAppeal.com

You can help keep the air clean every day

Dustin Boothe
Carson City Health and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal's Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Air pollution can affect your health and the environment. There are actions every one of us can take to reduce air pollution, keep the air clean, and precautionary measures to protect our health. The following tips will help you find ways to protect your family's health when ozone or particle pollution levels reach the unhealthy range. There are numerous ways you can help reduce air pollution when you travel and in your own home.

To help keep the air clean when you are traveling around Carson City:

Choose a cleaner commute — car pool, use public transportation, bike or walk when possible.

Combine errands to reduce "cold starts" of your car and avoid extended idling.

Be sure your tires are properly inflated.

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Keep car, boat and other engines properly tuned, and avoid engines that smoke.

Follow gasoline refueling instructions for efficient vapor recovery. Be careful not to spill fuel and always tighten your gas cap securely.

Many times we do not consider the air quality within our own homes. To keep the air clean in your residence:

Use environmentally safe paints and cleaning products whenever possible.

Some products that you use at your home or office are made with smog-forming chemicals that can evaporate into the air when you use them. Follow manufacturers' recommendations for use and properly seal cleaners, paints, and other chemicals to prevent evaporation into the air.

Conserve electricity by setting your thermostat a little higher in the summer and lower in winter. Participate in local energy conservation programs. Look for Energy Star label when buying home or office equipment.

Consider using gas logs instead of wood. If you use a wood-burning stove or fireplace insert, make sure it meets EPA design specifications. Burn only dry, seasoned wood.

Every day the Air Quality Index (AQI) tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is, along with associated health effects that may be of concern. The AQI translates air quality data into numbers and colors that help people understand when to take action to protect their health. Visit its website at http://www.airnow.gov to see our local and regional AQI. No matter which season we are in, air pollution is a health concern. Days when ozone or particle pollution is expected to be high, we need your help to keep the air cleaner.

For information about services and programs available to you through Carson City Health and Human Services, visit our website at gethealthycarsoncity.org, follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cchhs, or call us at 775-887-2190. You can also find us at 900 E. Long St.