Smog alert: Get out your inhalers!

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*****POSSIBLE VISUAL LEDE****121514 ATLANTA: NNaserri Carew-Johnson uses an inhaler before participating in an after school Zumba exercise class at Westlake High School on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014, in Atlanta. She keeps 2 inhalers ready in case she has an asthma attack, and sometimes uses them as a preventative. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Georgia Commute Options has issued a Code Orange alert today. And no, that doesn’t mean free Cheetos are available in the break room. (I wish).

The “Code Orange” Smog Alert — the first issued this year —  means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups like older adults, children, and people who suffer from heart or lung conditions like asthma.

Smog Alerts are color-coded based on the Air Quality Index. Based on the concentration of pollutants, categories go from green (healthy for all), yellow (affects people with extreme sensitivity), orange and red (unhealthy for everyone) to purple (very unhealthy).

Two Code Purple alerts were issued last year, and nine Code Oranges.

Metro Atlanta residents can subscribe to get the alerts at

You can help prevent air pollution by driving less, since a major source of it is from tailpipe emissions. Georgia Commute Options encourages everyone to consider telecommuting, ride-sharing, or taking transit.

June 29, 2012 -Atlanta: Smog covers the Atlanta Skyline on Friday, June 29, 2012. The  temperature in the city rose to  100 degrees in some areas today.  JOHNNY CRAWFORD /  JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM

June 29, 2012 -Atlanta: Smog covers the Atlanta Skyline. JOHNNY CRAWFORD / JCRAWFORD@AJC.COM

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