During days of high ozone pollution, Charlotte’s air is especially dangerous for our seniors, our children and those with asthma, emphysema or other lung and heart conditions. Read the stories of those who feel the daily effects of air pollution and join us in Getting to Code Green.
Born in York, South Carolina, Daisy has lived in Charlotte for over 50 years. She’s been a resident in the historic Wilmore neighborhood for 35 of those years and has seen it change over the decades. It’s changed for the better she says, as there aren’t nearly as many cars traveling through her neighborhood now. Daisy appreciates that because she understands how cars and trucks contribute to Charlotte’s air quality problem, especially during the summertime. Daisy has always been an avid bus rider and walks through her neighborhood nearly every day to catch the bus to the YMCA on West Blvd.
[singlepic id=114 w=320 h=240 float=right]Besides going to the Y, Daisy enjoys growing vegetables and has a plot in her neighborhood’s community garden which she tries to tend to every day. “I love to be out there” she says “but I’m not supposed to be out there too long.” In the summer, she gardens in the morning when it isn’t too hot. A couple of years ago while working in her garden at home, Daisy started to feel bad and suddenly found it hard to breathe. Her family rushed her to the hospital where they learned Daisy had several blood clots on her lungs. Her doctor told her she had been outside in the heat too long, “they said I might have died if I weren’t taken to the hospital!”
Daisy says clean air is important for everyone but especially for the elderly. It’s hard for her to be outside for long on hot summer days. On really hot days, when ozone levels are elevated, she can only bear to stay outside for no longer than 10 minutes. Otherwise she starts to feel bad, finds it hard to breathe and will even develop a headache if she’s out too long. She admits it’s harder than it used to be because she is older but she points out “there’s nothing I can do about my age, but the air, people can do something about.”
Daisy was recently featured in the Charlotte Observer.
By giving to Clean Air Carolina, one of the programs you’re supporting is the Medical Office Air Awareness Program. MOAAP targets asthma and allergy offices, pediatrician offices and medical practices that serve children and other sensitive populations.
- The purpose of our program is to raise awareness about air quality and its impact on health among patients, family members and practitioners.
- Our goal is to get at-risk patients familiar with the daily air quality code especially during ozone season (April through September) so they can alter their outdoor activities if necessary.
Sixteen-year old Jeremy has grown up in Charlotte and can tell first-hand when ozone levels are high. “On the worst air quality days, I’ll just be outside for a little while and get mild wheezing just from walking”, he says. Jeremy is one of 56,000 children living with asthma in the Charlotte region.
Young people like Jeremy are the most vulnerable to the effects of Charlotte’s air pollution. Their lungs are still developing and they take in more dirty air per pound of body weight than adults. They also tend to spend more time outdoors , especially during the summertime when ozone pollution levels can be the worst. Those with asthma are even more sensitive.
Jeremy was six years old when he experienced his first asthma attack. While playing in a water fountain during a family vacation in Charleston, he suddenly felt a tightness in his chest and had trouble breathing. His mother, an asthmatic herself, recognized the signs and sought medical assistance for him immediately.
Now a rising junior at Myers Park High School, Jeremy has managed to keep his asthma under control with proper medication. He is a competitive swimmer and has been on the swim team for several years. He also holds a summer job as a lifeguard at the Shannon Park Swim Club. Jeremy loves his job but says it can be challenging when it keeps him outside on the poorest air quality days. He realizes feeling healthy is an important part of his work. As a lifeguard monitoring 120 or so children in the pool, “you have to be on your top game”, he says, “if you’re not breathing well or distracted, that could really throw you off.”
Medical professionals refer to the impact of ozone pollution as “sunburn on the lungs”. Parents can’t apply sunscreen to their children’s lungs to protect them from damage. As a result, high ozone levels increase asthma exacerbations with emergency room visits and hospitalizations on high ozone days and over the days following. It can also cause long-term damage especially for children who grow up in smoggy cities. Studies show children growing up in cities with polluted air lose their ability to develop “reserve lung capacity” used when playing sports like swimming.
Clean Air Carolina believes in giving children like Jeremy the opportunity to grow strong, healthy lungs. Unfortunately, this opportunity is compromised as Charlotte remains on the top ten list of smoggiest cities according to the American Lung Association. Help us get off the list by taking action today.
By giving to Clean Air Carolina, one of the programs you’re supporting is the Clear the Air for Kids! campaign. Our campaign is helping to reduce children’s exposure to air pollution so they have the opportunity to grow strong and healthy lungs.
- The Air Quality Flag Program helps schools alert the community about the quality of the air each day. By knowing the air quality code for the day, parents and teachers can take precautions and alter outdoor activities on bad air days to protect students’ health.
- The No Idle Campaign aims to reduce pollution build-up on school property by encouraging parents and school bus drivers to turn off their engines while waiting to pick up children from school in the afternoon.