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Over half of Hoosiers living in bad air pollution

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - 

If your allergies are acting up this summer—you’re not alone.

A new study says more than half of Hoosiers are living in counties with high ragweed pollen and ozone levels.

Hot days lead to more pollen over a longer period of time, and rising temperatures speed up ozone production. So these hot summer days are making the issue worse.

Experts say this is a big problem for people with asthma.

In Indiana there are 519,000 adults and 119,000 children with asthma.

When it comes to the number of adults with asthma by county, St. Joseph County is the fifth highest in the state, according to the American Lung Association.

Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, says it’s time lawmakers make a plan to combat the issue.

“Supporting state and national initiatives to reduce carbon pollution is going to pull us back from the brink of more of these effects in the future, and more air-pollution challenges,” she said.

Twenty-five counties in Indiana have reported an average of at least one unhealthy smog day a year. St. Joseph County and several surrounding counties contribute to those 25.

Several counties in northwest Indiana have those high pollen levels in addition to the smog days which are fueled by hot temperatures.

But Knowlton says there are some ways you can reduce your exposure to these allergens.

“If it’s a really high-pollen day, save your outdoor activity for a day later in the week when conditions are better,” she said. “When you come indoors, you can take a damp washcloth and towel off your hair; launder your clothes, so that you’re not breathing the pollen indoors as well.”

To learn more about your local conditions click here.

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