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Beat the Heat: Learn About Air Quality Codes

Thursday, May 30, 2013

As the temperatures begin to climb and the days get longer, we’re hearing more about heat-related illness and air quality codes. The National Weather Service has declared a code orange for today, and it’s expected to continue through this weekend. Find out what this means for air quality in Washington, DC.

Beat the Heat: 

During summer’s hottest days, parents should make sure their children are dressed properly:
  • Keep kids in light colors 
  • Wear loose fitting, cotton clothing 
  • Wear a wide brim hat, preferably with ventilation 
  • Stay hydrated 

Children’s National Health System’s Director of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Daniel Fagbuyi, MD, suggests keeping water available throughout the day.

“Make sure children hydrate before, during, and after an activity on extremely hot days,” Dr. Fagbuyi said.

While outside, if your child is becoming flush, experiencing muscle cramps, or seems weak, these may be signs of a heat-related illness. Parents should familiarize themselves with the signs, symptoms, and treatment of heat-related illnesses.

Air Quality Codes: 

Since we spend a lot of time outside in the summer, this is also a great time to learn about the Air Quality Index (AQI) and how the daily air quality may affect families. The codes are color coded and increase in severity from good air quality to very unhealthy air quality.

  • Green - Good 
  • Yellow - Moderate 
  • Orange - Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 
  • Red - Unhealthy 
  • Purple - Very Unhealthy 
For more information on the AQI, parents can download this PDF.


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