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This information has been reviewed and approved by Anthony Gerber, MD (May 2024).

Ozone & Your Health

Good Ozone:Bad or Ground-Level Ozone:
Naturally occurs in the upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.Created when vehicle and other emissions mix with pollutants and are heated by the sun.


10 Harmful Effects of Bad Ozone

  1. Lung function
  2. Asthma attacks
  3. Asthma & COPD worsen
  4. Throat irritation
  5. Cough
  6. Chest pain
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Lung tissue inflammation
  9. Lung infections 
  10. Eye irritation



  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Cough 
  • Chest discomfort/tightness/pain
  • Throat irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual fatigue



  • Take medications as prescribed. 
  • Stay indoors and close windows. 
  • Limit or eliminate outdoor exercise in high ozone.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms increase or medications aren’t helping.



  • Maintain your vehicle.
  • Refuel in the evening.
  • Use your vehicle less.
  • Bike, walk, car pool or use public transportation.
  • Consolidate car trips to once a day.
  • Drive an electric, hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicle.
  • Use low VOC* (volatile organic compound) products.
  • Mow your lawn in the evening.
  • Use electric lawn and garden tools.


Ozone is a gas. When you breathe it in, ozone reacts with body tissues and damages them.

*VOC or volatile organic compound products are solvents that get released into the air as paint dries or from adhesives, cleaning supplies and other items.