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The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) today issued a Health Advisory for people with asthma, other respiratory conditions or heart disease due to high levels of smoke from fireworks.
In recent years, LLCHD has found high levels of particulate air pollution from the night of July 3 through the morning of July 5, resulting in the Air Quality Index level of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Fireworks may be used in the City of Lincoln from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3 and 8 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. July 4.
“It is very likely that there will be high concentrations of fine particle pollution due to fireworks,” said Chris Schroeder, LLCHD Air Quality Program Supervisor. “Those most affected are the young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.”
Schroeder said fine particle pollution is so small that it can get deep into the lungs and enter the blood stream, causing serious health problems. He said most people will not be affected, but warned that even a few hours of exposure to high levels of particles can aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks and acute bronchitis, and may increase the chances of respiratory infection. For people with heart disease, short-term exposures to high levels of particle pollution have been linked to angina, heart attacks and arrhythmia.
Schroeder said those at risk should avoid extensive physical activity outdoors or remain indoors with windows and doors closed. Those who experience health effects are encouraged to consult their doctor.