November 23, 2014
For the first time in ten years, Washoe County's Health Department has issued a Stage One Red Alert for air quality.
But a check with the local hospitals around town reveals they report no more activity than normal.
But that doesn't mean those with respiratory ailments aren't feeling the pollution levels right where it hurts in their lungs.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Sandy Rippee comes to the Health and Wellness Center to exercise. An ex-smoker and now asthmatic she says its something she really looks forward to. But this morning she says its tougher to catch her breath and she's not doing as well on her treadmill.
With air like this its no wonder patients like Sandy are having trouble catching their breath. Respiratory therapists here say bad weather conditions followed by bad air mean Sandy is one of the few to venture out of their home...and they see that as a good thing.
The health district issued the stage one red alert after seeing high pollution levels like this on filter tapes at their monitoring stations around town.
This particular monitor pulls particles from the air that are one-seventh of the diameter of human hair. Particle analysis shows its mostly ground up sand and dust from snow removal efforts this past week.