Southwest Oklahoma receives a fluctuation in air-quality

Southwest Oklahoma residential skyline.
Southwest Oklahoma residential skyline.(kswo)
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 6:50 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - An air quality health advisory was released on August 18 by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, as the air was unhealthy for individuals with asthma and other respiratory problems.

According to officials with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the reason behind fluctuation in Southwest Oklahoma’s air quality actually came from the current weather conditions.

“It has been very hot, very sunny, and pretty stagnant. Which is different for Oklahoma because typically the wind is always blowing, but we haven’t seen those windy conditions. Which honestly would help because we could move some of this along,” said Erin Hatfield, the communications director for DEQ.

If the conditions stay below moderate it would mostly affect those who are sensitive to the air quality or have pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory problems.

“Because of that, their symptoms get worse, the sharpness of breath gets worse, and that affects their quality of life. They cannot do day-to-day activities,” said Dr. Velury, a physician with Southwestern Medical Center.

However, there are things you can do to protect yourself when the air quality drops.

“Make sure you wear a mask when it says the air quality is not good,” said Dr. Velury. “Also, making sure you have your air filters and your air conditioning systems and replacing them periodically when it’s time.”

Hatfield said one way to help prevent air quality from dropping in the first place is to alter your methods of travel.

“If you can’t telework or use public transportation, try to carpool,” added Hatfield. “That’s fewer vehicles on the road.”

Both Hatfield and Dr. Velury agree, taking these air quality advisories seriously is very important to yourself and the environment.

“If you do get that alert and decide ‘Hey, I’m going to telework today and just stay in the house’. You can have some positive benefit to air quality,” said Hatfield. “We just really hope that Oklahoman’s will take this seriously and get signed up for these alerts and stay informed.”