SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been another hazy day in the Pioneer Valley and across the Northeast as an air quality alert remains in effect.

A slight uptick in patients seeking care for respiratory conditions has been seen locally. This is typical when air quality levels are this poor. Much of New England is in the air quality ‘red zone’.

“We do see some more patients having respiratory conditions and seeing our emergency departments,” said Dr. James Mazo.

Dr. Mazo works at Trinity Health of New England in Hartford, Connecticut where air quality levels have exceeded 180. The higher the air quality level, the more unhealthy the air is.

“Now people who are susceptible to lung irritation by these kinds of really smoky, hazy conditions are of course people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, but also the very young or old who are otherwise healthy.”

According to the American Lung Association, air pollutants can lead to serious issues like cardiovascular disease, lung tissue swelling, and lung cancer.

Marilyn Antonucci, who teaches in Springfield, an area experiencing a 152 air quality index, gave some advice to her students, “I brought in my nasal spray, which is saline and I explained to them how this might help them.”

Dr. Mazo recommends wearing a KN-95 mask if you’ll be spending extended time outdoors. The air quality alert remains in effect until midnight Thursday.

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Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.