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Bad air blankets Tucson

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

It was not hard to find people suffering from nasal issues in Tucson today.

Anytime you can see the air in the Old Pueblo, it's a problem.

Allergy sufferers have spent the past couple of weeks getting worse and worse.

The bad news is it may not get better soon.

Of course it's pollen season in Tucson but right now we're being assaulted by a high concentration of dust and particles in the air.

We're told the dust we're breathing right now is likely from Texas which is suffering from a severe drought.

"That is definitely a possibility," says Ursula Kramer, director Pima Environmental Quality. "We've had winds out of the East  lately, so it could definitely be coming from as far away as Texas."

Kramer says we often deal with dust from neighboring states like California and Texas. Mexico is also a popular source.

When the dust blows like it is now, it's a double whammy for the allergy sufferers. But most everyone else is affected too.

"If you have allergies you are probably miserable," says Dr. Tara Carr, an allergy specialist at UMC. "If you're don't have allergies, you're probably miserable too."

Most people believe if they are not allergy sufferers, they escape the "bad air" problems.

But not so according to Dr. Carr.

"Because of all this dust that's in the air and all the other particles that are picked up by the winds, anybody can have some nasal symptoms they might not have otherwise, drainage, congestion, sinus pressure, sneezing," she says.

As of this afternoon, Pima County's Department of Environmental Quality issued an air advisory.

Pima County, Ariz. - The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an air quality advisory due to the potential for elevated levels of wind-generated particulate matter today.

Individuals with heart disease and respiratory sensitivities may want to reduce their level of exertion to decrease the amount of particulates they breathe into their lungs, especially if they are near dust-prone locations.

Particulate matter is made up of tiny specks of soot, dust, and aerosols that are suspended in the air we breathe. Particulate matter can come from either combustion (cars, industry, fires) or dust from disturbed land that becomes airborne with high winds.

PDEQ monitors air pollution in our region at 18 air quality monitoring sites. Up-to-the-hour air pollution levels are available online at the PDEQ website www.airinfonow.org or by calling the PDEQ hotline at (520) 882-4AIR.

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