Air quality in Kern County very poor to start 2018

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - If you've stepped outside or driven along any highway across the county, you have probably noticed the smog.

That's right, it's smog -- pollution -- not fog like it might seem, which means spending time outside Tuesday and in the days to come is not a good idea.

Kern County had level 5 unhealthy air quality Tuesday according to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Valley Air monitors two pollutants year-round: ozone and fine particulate matter. 

During the winter season, particulate matter, or PM 2.5, is the trouble maker. 

The EPA warns only PM 2.5 is harmful to human health, because larger particulate matter can be released when clearing one's throat. 

PM 2.5 is so small, it can get into your blood stream and your respiratory system, which makes air quality right in Kern County a concern for people with asthma, existing respiratory issues, and even those with existing cardiovascular issues. 

It's also a big concern for parents with children who suffer from these conditions. 

Parents like Brenda Lopez whose son suffers more when our air quality is poor like on Tuesday.

"We're aware of the air quality. Every day we're looking, we're watching the news, he looks it up on his phone," Lopez said. "He tries to limit his outdoor activity. we don't go to practices. he tries to sit out at PE. He needs his inhaler a lot more often." 

Valley Air experts also said, healthy people, especially kids, should be wary of spending time outside.

You can get more detailed, hour-by-hour information on the pollutant levels in your area by visiting the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District's Real-time Air Advisory Network website.

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