More and more, it seems, we hear it in the Bay Area: "Tomorrow is a Spare the Air Day."
When it happens, it simply means the air we breathe that next day is likely to be tainted with particulates of pollution that can cause harm to our health, especially for those of us with extra sensitivity to impure air.
Of course, you can log on to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District website, and get the readings you're looking for.
As an alternative, the American Lung Association has released a free app that gives smartphone users immediate notifications from their area.
The Lung Association has created the State of the Air application for iPhones or Androids. It's considered "a life-saving resource for people living with lung disease like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), people with heart disease or diabetes, as well as older adults and children," according to their website.
With State of the Air, users can enter their zip code or use the geo-locator function on their smartphones to get current and next-day air quality conditions.
The app provides levels of both ozone and particle pollution, and sends out alerts if our Bay Area air quality is unhealthful. If the day’s air pollution is particularly severe, the app will provide specific recommendations – advising that outdoor activities should be rescheduled or that people who work outdoors should limit extended or heavy exertion.
You can get the American Lung Association app as a free download in the Apple and Android markets, or at this site.
Also, the Lung Association has created a public service advertising (PSA) campaign to encourage people to download the new air quality app. You can see one of the videos on the YouTube attached to this article.