Air Quality Apps

What Air Quality Apps Can Help You Stay Safe in Gunk Like This?

Which Air Quality Apps Give Us the Most Information?

Why Air Quality Apps Matter

Living in Utah can be a beautiful thing.  We have beautiful mountains, many lakes and reservoirs, competitive professional and college sports teams, and we usually get a taste of four seasons each year.  There’s so much recreation and fun to be had outdoors in Utah that it’s almost hard to make enough time to take it all in.  If it’s so beautiful, why would we need air quality apps?

One thing that makes it difficult to enjoy all the outdoor activities available to Utahans is the terrible air quality that we get in the winter months, known as an inversion.  What exactly is an inversion?  According to Salt Lake City’s air quality website, an inversion “occur(s) when atmospheric conditions…become inverted.  Inversions trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air.”  Basically, what this means is that all the cold air gets stuck in the valley, with the warm air on top of it.  When conditions are inverted, the result is poor air quality that you can see, feel, and sometimes taste.  Check out Salt Lake City’s website for more information on what an inversion is, how it is caused, and how we can help to prevent it: http://www.ci.slc.ut.us/winter-inversions-what-are-they-and-what-we-can-all-do-help.

In Utah, we know that the inversion is coming each year.  We know that the air quality will get worse and that it will be hard to breathe and enjoy the things we love doing.  But how bad does it get?  How do we know what’s in the air and how bad it is for us?  There are now air quality apps that can help us to determine the air quality in the location that we are currently in.

An Air Quality App for You and Me

Meet new apps like BreezoMeter.  This app was developed in Israel and has been named one of the top 20 hottest start-ups by CNBC here.  This app uses air quality monitoring stations throughout the world to determine how good or bad the air is that you’re breathing in your current location.

An Air Quality App for Those with Lung Issues

An app called “State of the Air” has been released by the American Lung Association.  This app uses air quality data provided by the EPA to provide users with information on their smartphones about the air they are breathing.  This app also uses push notifications to alert users when air quality reaches dangerous levels.  This app is especially designed for those with breathing diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.  The app has a companion website that can be found here: http://www.stateoftheair.org/.

Air Quality Apps to Help Us Exercise

One thing that is kind of difficult about these apps is determining how to use the information they provide.  If ozone levels are high or the air quality is worse than normal, what does that mean for me?  Can I go out at all?  Can I take my dog for a walk?  Can I play with my kid at the park?  That’s a difficult thing to determine for those of us who are mostly healthy but are concerned about being outside in the gunk.

The myAir App Can Help Us Get Outside

That’s where the myAir app comes in.  This app finally gives guys like me who don’t like running outside an excuse to stay inside.  Not that I really need any more excuses to not exercise, and not that this app will really tell me not to, but it does provide information that I can use as it relates to air quality.  It uses information about you, like your height, weight, and overall health, and gives you an idea of what you can do outdoors in high air pollution situations.  The app will tell you how long you are safe to be outside in the poor air quality based on your personal characteristics and the amount of ozone on PM2.5 there is in the air.  It uses a lot of cool science stuff that I don’t understand.  Here’s more info about science behind it: http://myairhealth.com/about-us/.

Conclusion: There Are Many Air Quality Apps. Use Them.

It’s safe to say that these apps can all be helpful if we know how to use them.  Educating ourselves about the air and how to be safe in it will help us to enjoy the beautiful state in which we live.