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Phoenix's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Phoenix, Arizona | 12NEWS.com

Arizona's dry weather and low air quality makes living difficult for those with asthma

The numbers are startling.

Nearly 100 Arizonans die due to asthma every year and hundreds of thousands more suffer from it, according to a study from the American Lung Association and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In an effort to improve asthma awareness and care around the world, the Global Initiative organized an annual event, World Asthma Day, observed on May 1.

Mother Nature isn’t helping people who suffer from asthma, because of the dust particles. That ozone just hangs out here in the Valley.

"A little rain would go a long way or even a light breeze would blow some of that pollution out of the Valley," said Timothy Franquist, ADEQ Air Quality Division Director.

But right now, we're not seeing any of those weather conditions.

"Ozone, particulate matter or dust… all that can exacerbate pre-existing breathing issues and unfortunately either send somebody to the hospital or in very rare cases, actually kill somebody," he said.

Things like dust from construction and smoke from the mulch fires we've had in and around the Phoenix metro area are only making matters worse for anyone dealing with asthma or any kind of allergies.

"We'll have to take this one into our own hands," said Franquist.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has some simple things you can do to help reduce harmful pollutants, like using gas fireplaces instead of wood.

"Drive as little as possible, do as little fireworks come July 4th as possible," he said. "If one person sets off a firework, not so much a problem, when 4.5 million Phoenix residents set off fireworks, we have a big problem."

"We can come together and really solve this problem as a community," he added.

Since it doesn't look like Mother Nature is going to cooperate too well this year, it's also a good idea to limit your outdoor activity, especially if you have asthma.

If you want to stay informed about the air pollution and ozone days, there are plenty of state and county level resources you can turn to.

For more information, just go to Department of Environmental Quality's website.