If you have respiratory problems, be careful of stagnant air - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

If you have respiratory problems, be careful of stagnant air

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PACIFIC NORTHWEST-- Right now, scientists in Washington are analyzing the data from an ozone study here in the Tri-Cities. Over the summer, they determined that the levels of ozone in the air were too high for the population size. But we spoke to those same scientists this week, who told us that while ozone is a problem, it is a summer problem. 

However, just because we're in the middle of winter doesn't mean we're out of the woods just yet. A good part of the region is now under an air stagnation advisory until at least Monday morning, and this isn't the first one we've seen this winter. 

"When the air is stagnant in the winter, you get these strong temperature inversions," Ranil Dhammapala, of the Washington State Department of Ecology, told KNDU, "Cold air is trapped beneath warm air."

When that cold air gets trapped, pollutive fine particles do too. That pollution sticks near the ground, where, unfortunately, we breathe it in. This isn't helped by the fact that, many of the methods we use to keep warm, like fireplaces, or wood stoves, are what create those fine particles. 

So, this is a good week to stay indoors where your air is filtered, and ease up on indoor burning, especially if you have any respiratory problems. If those problems are extreme, you should also consult a doctor about any further measures you should take until enough wind blows in to move this stagnant, polluted air away from ground level.