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Air quality alert canceled Thursday in El Paso County

State Health Department cites ozone concern

State declares second day of air quality alert along Colorados Front Range

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Weather changes make the issuance of an air quality alert rare in El Paso County, but conditions led to an alert being declared from 4 p.m. Wednesday until 4 p.m. Thursday.

Most people saw the hazy skies and barely noticed any effects, but officials said a high level of ozone pollution along Colorado's Front Range required an alert from El Paso County to Fort Collins and Greeley.

"My wife noticed it," said Jared Hawk, of Monument.  "We were walking this morning on the Santa Fe Trail.  She has allergies and said that it was hard to breathe."

Officials also were concerned about the area's high pollen count and the possibility of smoke floating in from wildfires in the region.

Changing atmospheric conditions brought wind to the area, blowing out the stagnant air.  That was a factor in the state canceling the alert.

Dr. William Storms, who runs an allergy clinic in Colorado Springs, said he received more calls than usual from patients complaining about breathing difficulties.

"We may be busier tomorrow because it often takes a day or two for symptoms to really set in," he said.  "If your symptoms are minor, you can treat them with over-the-counter medicines.  If your symptoms are more serious, you should see a doctor."

Storms also advised people affected by breathing issues related to the alert to limit activity outdoors and stay inside an air-conditioned building as much as possible.

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