Day 1: Your Heart & Lungs - Air Quality Awareness Week 2019

(This blog is one part of a series about air quality and your health. We encourage you to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to decide when it’s best to be active outdoors. See part 2part 3part 4, and part 5.)

Spring is in the air; a time to open the windows, soak in the season’s colorful blooms, and explore Nevada’s inspiring natural surroundings. In recognition of national Air Quality Awareness Week, April 29 - May 3, 2019, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is encouraging Nevadans to “Check the AQI and Get Outside.” Throughout Air Quality Awareness Week, we will be sharing helpful information and resources about Nevada’s air quality on this blog. Look for new air quality related themes each day!

What is the Air Quality Index, and why is it useful?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a tool public agencies use to report daily air quality, and it is derived from real-time measurements. The AQI helps the public understand what local air quality means for their health. At NDEP, our goal is to promote air quality awareness and encourage our communities to check the AQI to decide when it’s best to be active outside. 

The Air Quality Index (AQI)

Air Quality Index Values Levels of Health Concern Colors
When the AQI is in this range: ...air quality conditions are: symbolized by:
0 to 50
51 to 100
101 to 150
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups

151 to 200



201 to 300

Very Unhealthy


301 to 500



For clarity and accessibility, the AQI is divided into six levels of health concern: good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy, and hazardous. As part of this effort, we issues air quality forecasts every day to help Nevadans and visitors plan their outdoor adventures.

Sign up for email alerts and daily air quality forecasts at EnviroFlash.

Air Quality Affects How We Live and Breathe

Like the weather, it can change day to day and even hour to hour. How does poor air quality impact your health? Find out more at!

An image showing the short and long term effects of air pollution. Short term effects include headache, eye and throat inflammation, coughing and painful breathing, bronchitis and pheumonia, and skin irritation. Long term effects include affects to the central nervous system (including anxiety), cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases (asthma, cancer), impacts on the liver, spleen, and blood, and impacts on the reproductive system. The chart also says that seniors, children, pregnant women, people who exercise outdoors, and people with chronic lung/heart disease and diabetes are more effected by air pollution. To protect yourself, check the air quality index, use a face mask, keep windows and doors closed, and avoid congested areas.

For more information about the AQI and your health, check out these other great resources. And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for information about wildfires and smoke.

Learn More About Nevada and Air Quality