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What is the air quality index (AQI)?

Air pollution can present a risk, particularly for those with respiratory conditions like asthma. There is an air quality index (AQI) that can be accessed through the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. The AQI tells you how clean or polluted your outdoor air is and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health problems that may be experienced within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. If the index is between 101 and 150, it is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. If it is 150 or greater, it is considered unhealthy for all. Those exercising outdoors during these conditions should be closely monitored for breathing difficulty and other problems with exertion, such as fatigue and light-headedness. An AQI greater than 200 is considered very unhealthy, and outdoor activities should be discontinued. (This answer provided for NATA by the Marist College Athletic Training Education Program)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.