Ozone can irritate the respiratory system at levels often found in many cities during the summer months. It not only affects people with existing breathing problems, but also can affect healthy children and adults. Persons especially sensitive to ozone exposure are the elderly, infants, children, asthmatics, chronic respiratory patients, pregnant women, smokers, persons with a history of chest discomfort or respiratory allergies, and persons with lung cancer, cardiovascular disease or immune system deficiency.
At low levels, persons sensitive to ozone may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, sinuses, throat and lungs resulting in watery eyes, runny nose and coughing. At higher levels, ozone can cause chest tightness, shortness of breath, pain when breathing deeply and wheezing. Other less common symptoms are blurred vision, headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Ozone also appears to make the lungs more susceptible to bacterial infections. For additional information, visit our Air Quality page.