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Tom Smart, Chopper 5, Deseret News
An inversion of smog hangs over the valley last month in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — Those bad air days along the Wasatch Front, in which inversions trap nasty pollutants, come with typical warnings for the elderly, the young and asthma sufferers.

But a pulmonologist at the Intermountain Medical Center also warns that nasty air days can accentuate cold symptoms in healthy people.

"We don't have any knowledge that it will extend how long you are sick, but I think during that time you are sick it will make you have more profound symptoms," said Dr. Russ Miller.

With the thick gunk in the air slated to return to the Wasatch Front after Monday's storm clears out, Miller cautions that even healthy people need to be mindful of pollutants' effects on the respiratory system.

"We simply can't exercise as much, we can't go as long, we can't perhaps do the same level of intensity we could, so yes, there are some limitations for all of us," he said.

The state Division of Air Quality has teamed with the State Offfice of Education and local school districts to let parents' of children with asthma know they can curtail outdoor recess activity on bad air days. But any parent who is concerned about the unhealthy air can work with school officials on alternatives to outdoor activity, air quality officials said.

With January notoriously one of the worst months in Utah for inversions, a lecture series is planned Wednesday at the University of Utah.

The event, part of the Wallace Stegner Center's Green Bag Series, will feature an epidemiologist with the Utah Asthma Program from the Utah Department of Health. In addition to the presentation by Celeste Beck, Steven Packham, a toxicologist with the Utah Division of Air Quality, will provide information. Randy Graham, a science and operations officer with the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City, will also be part of the presentation.

The event is free to the public and will be held at the U's S.J. Quinney College of Law in Room 106 from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Contributing: Amy Joi O'Donoghue

e-mail: abutterfield@desnews.com