Bad air quality worsens breathing problems

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jan 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-08 23:58:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Logan, Provo and Salt Lake have some of the worst air quality in the country, according to Utah’s Department of Environmental Quality.

At one point Tuesday, pollution levels in the Salt Lake valley were worse than in Beijing, a city notorious for having some of the world’s worst air pollution.

As a blanket of pollution rested over Riverdale, Jessica Samora rattled off some of her symptoms.

"It's like breathing through a straw, wheezing, shortness of breath," said Samora.

Samora suffers from asthma and after a week-long inversion, she finds herself using her inhaler twice as much.

"Just going outside for 5 minutes and coming back in, I have to use my inhaler right afterwards,” she said.

Her 4 year-old daughter Emma is affected too.

"We can't take her out sledding like we want to," Samora said.

That’s partly due to her mother’s health and a desire to not take chances. For Samora, it may be a matter of days before she has to see a doctor.

"I'll most likely have to do a breathing treatment," said Samora.

Doctors at St. Mark’s Hospital say they’re seeing an increase in patients complaining of respiratory problems.

"There is a correlation between poor air quality and increased urgent care visitors and the longer we have a bad spell, the more it will require, for some, urgent medical attention," said Dr. Peter DeWeerd.

That may be part of the reason why Samora stays indoors but she says that has its price too.

"You can't exercise outside so you have to go to a gym, it just sucks being indoors all day, every day," Samora said.