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Ozone alert issued for Fort Wayne, county

FORT WAYNE – The city's air will be unhealthy Monday for people with asthma or other lung problems, health officials warn.

In addition to being exceedingly hot, today the air is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” because of ground-level ozone in Allen County. The “unhealthy for sensitive groups” designation is also known as an “orange alert” day or an “ozone action day.” The forecasts are made based on air-quality monitors and weather forecasts.

Ozone is particularly troublesome in the summer when sunlight triggers a chemical reaction, combining it with pollutants that produce smog.

Even at low levels, breathing ground-level ozone can trigger a variety of health problems for people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Active children and adults, older adults and people with heart or lung disease should limit or avoid prolonged outdoor exertion.

If breathing becomes difficult, people should go indoors and contact a health care provider.

To reduce ozone levels:

•Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation.

•Avoid using the drive-thru, combine errands into one trip, and turn off the engine when idling for more than 10 seconds.

•Maintain proper air pressure in tires.

•Delay lawn mowing or car fueling until after 7 p.m.

•Conserve electricity by turning off lights and computers when not in use.

For more information, go to the IDEM Smog Watch website at www.in.gov/apps/idem/smog, call 1-800-631-2871 or go to www.thecleanairforce.org.

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