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Heat Zones and How They Effect Your Child's Asthma

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SAN ANTONIO---Heat zones and urban heat islands, two phrases we're hearing more and more.

But being near one doesn't just make us sweat more it can affect our health.

When we think about asthma triggers normally we think of allergens.

But with the sun coming on strong the next few days try thinking heat and ozone!

The temperatures around heat zones, like I-10, 1604 and the I-35 corridor and urban heat islands, like downtown, can be 20 to 30 degrees hotter than what the thermometer is saying. Heat absorbing black asphalt and buildings contribute to the heat build up..

Dr. Rose Ramos, Associate Professor Department of Emergency Medicine at UTHSC explains, "Urban heat islands are characterized by high traffic density, asphalt composition and lack of green vegetation in the community."

And for children with asthma, it makes matters worse. It's just plain hard to breath in that kind of heat. Then add to that the pollution or ozone from nearby traffic or industry. Krystal Henagan's 7 year old son suffered severe effects while living near 1604 and a large cement quarry.

Says Krystal, "So we moved here and we began to get sick with upper respiratory problems and coughs, My son developed twelve to fourteen mucus plugs in his lungs."

So what can be done if you live near or in a heat zone or urban heat island and suspect this may be causing it?

Dr. Ramos explains, "The heat level increases between two and six plus that's the most favorable time for conditions of ground level ozone so perhaps limit your outdoor activities between two and six."

And Krystal suggests, "If you're going to go outside check the air quality index. That gives you an idea of what the pollution levels are outside."

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