The Air Quality Health Index is a tool that pharmacists can use to counsel patients on how to limit exposure to air pollution. The index helps patients make decisions to protect their health by limiting long-term exposure to air pollution and adjusting activity levels during increased levels of air pollution.
The higher the number on the index, the greater the health risk. Numbers one to three indicate a low health risk. At this low level the population is able to enjoy their usual outdoor activities and should be encouraged to be physically active outdoors. Numbers four to six on the scale indicate health risk, when the at-risk population should consider reducing or rescheduling their outdoor activities. Numbers seven to ten indicate a high risk. At these levels, children and the elderly and those with preexisting respiratory or cardiac disease should reduce or reschedule their outdoor activities.