COVID-19 Community Levels Map Update, Feb. 3, 2023: The CDC has listed all eight Connecticut Counties in the Medium/Yellow category.  The Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends that all residents consider wearing a mask in public indoor spaces. People who are at high risk for severe illness should consider additional measures to minimize their exposure to COVID-19 and respiratory illnesses. Visit the CDC COVID-19 Community Levels Map for updates.


Please visit covidtests.gov to request four free COVID-19 self-test kits from the Federal Government. Find a location that has a supply of COVID-19 therapeutics as part of the Test to Treat initiative here. The complete DPH COVID-19 toolbox is located at ct.gov/coronavirus.

 Air Quality
Outdoor Air
Air pollution can be a substantial trigger for people living with asthma, particularly in urban areas.  Exposure to air pollution early in life is linked to the development of asthma during childhood and adolescence. Traffic-related air pollution in particular is associate with the development of asthma in children and can increase the chance of developing asthma in adults.

If this is a trigger for you, reducing your exposure to air pollution and limiting your time outdoors during poor air quality periods will help reduce your chance of an asthma attack. 

 

Air Pollution and Asthma

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines air pollution as “any visible or invisible particle or gas found in the air that is not part of the natural composition of air.”

Air pollution comes from many different sources – some are man-made and some are naturally occurring. Air pollution includes gases, smoke from fires, volcanic ash and dust particles.

Research shows that air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms. A study of young campers with moderate to severe asthma showed they were 40 percent more likely to have acute asthma episodes on high pollution summer days than on days with average pollution levels. Click here to learn more about asthma and air pollution.

 

Air Quality Index (AQI)

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a scale called the Air Quality Index (AQI) for rating air quality. This scale is based on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) . The AQI forecast is updated once daily at 3:00pm, excluding weekends and holidays.

Alternatively, you may call the Air Quality Index Hotline at (800) 249-1234 or (860) 424-4167 for the forecast or link to Airnow.gov for the most current air quality information. The AQI forecast is updated once daily at 3:00pm, excluding weekends and holidays.

Indoor Air

According to the American Lung Association, poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk. Find out what makes indoor air unhealthy and how pollution can hurt your body. Click here to learn more about how each of the the below makes indoor air unhealthy and how pollution can hurt your body.

  • Asbestos
  • Building and paint products
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carpets
  • Cleaning supplies and household chemicals
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites and dust
  • Floods and water damage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Mold and dampness
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Pet dander
  • Radon
  • Residential wood burning
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Volatile Organic Compounds

Protect Yourself from Air Pollution at Home

Make healthy air in your home a priority by keeping pollution out. The following are some easy, but important tips for healthy indoor air:

1.  Declare your home a smokefree zone. Never let anyone smoke indoors. Ask smokers to go outside.

2.  Test your home for radon, an invisible gas that causes lung cancer. Every home should be tested since radon may be found in any home. If your home has high radon, it can be fixed.

3.  Keep humidity levels under 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner, as needed. Clean equipment regularly so they don't become a source of pollution themselves.

4.  Fix all leaks and drips in the home. Standing water and high humidity encourage the growth of mold and other pollutants.

5.  Put away food, cover trash and use baits to control pests, like mice and cockroaches.

6.  Avoid burning wood because it adds pollution indoors and out. Don't use outdoor wood boilers, also called hydronic heaters, to heat your home's water. They add unhealthy soot to the air in your neighborhood.

7.  Don't use scented candles or fragrances to hide odors. Figure out what is causing the odor, then clean that up and ventilate to add fresh air.

Click here to watch a short video on how indoor air quality impacts your health, as well as tips to improve indoor air in your home.