HOUSTON - Smog in the Houston area has reached unhealthy levels as state monitors recorded the highest ozone levels in years.
Officials said car exhaust, emissions produced from electric utilities, power plants, sunshine and high temperatures all can contribute to elevated levels of bad ozone.
According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Houston and its surrounding areas saw those levels hit highs that haven't been reached in several years.
On Wednesday, the one-hour average more than doubled the federal limit, peaking at 166 parts per billion.
Allergy specialist Dr. David Engler said he's seen a direct correlation between the resulting levels of smog and the number of patients seen.
Engler said the recent conditions could lead to worsening symptoms for anyone suffering from asthma or some sort of airway obstruction. He also said those cases require constant attention during this time.
"If your doctor has you on an asthma controller medicine, make sure you're using that every day because that airways inflammation is going on even though you might feel great at this the time," said Engler.
There's good news ahead, however. The TCEQ expects the air quality to improve as winds begin to pick up and temperatures continue to drop.
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