Health Matters

When Summer Heat Takes Your Breath Away

Sunny and sticky days will surely make you sweat, but they can also hamper breathing–especially for children and seniors. Pulmonologist Dr. Mark Frampton explains how ozone levels can be dangerous to your health.
A rising ozone level in the air can trigger severe breathing problems for people who suffer from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as for those who smoke.
Ozone is a dangerous gas created by a combination of pollutants from cars, industrial sites and the summer’s intense heat. The ground-level ozone increases on sunny days when the temperatures rise dramatically. Don’t confuse this with the protective atmospheric layer of ozone that shields the planet from the sun’s harmful rays.warm girl holding forehead
Those who are susceptible to breathing problems include children who spend long hours outdoors or adults who work or exercise outdoors, and anyone with respiratory problems. When exposed to elevated ozone levels, they can experience the following symptoms:
  • Cough or throat irritation
  • Uncomfortable sensation in the chest
  • Inability to breathe deeply
You can protect yourself by monitoring news reports on air quality and heeding some advice on high-ozone days:
  • Stay indoors
  • Avoid extended time outdoors between late morning and late afternoon
  • Limit rigorous outdoor activity
  • If you experience difficulty breathing, go inside and try to relax. If problems persist, seek medical attention immediately.
Mark Frampton, MD
Mark Frampton, M.D., is professor of Medicine and Environmental Medicine in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In addition to caring for patients, he researches the health effects of air pollution. He directs URMC’s National Institutes of Health-funded training program in pulmonary research.
Lori Barrette | 7/9/2013 | 0 comments


Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave a comment

 Security code

About the Blog


Welcome to Health Matters, a blog aimed at keeping you and your family healthy. We offer advice from URMC experts on timely topics, as well as insight into breaking news and medical research. Visit us weekly for updates and invite your family and friends to check us out. If you have a topic you’d like to see us cover, please send a note to Lori Barrette.


Want great health tips delivered right to your inbox? Sign up for the Health Matters newsletter.
Subscribe Now »


Though health advice offered here is provided by experts, there is no substitute for the personal care your own provider can offer. If you have medical questions or concerns, please contact your physician.

Blog posts