Smoky skies have become frustratingly common this summer in many parts of the US. Learn how to protect yourself from poor outdoor air quality.
Breathing clean air is essential for our health, but unfortunately, many regions in the US experience poor outdoor air quality due to pollution and wildfires. The air we breathe can significantly impact our respiratory health, especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions and vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. Poor outdoor air quality can cause or worsen respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, and COPD and lead to heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
Understanding how to protect yourself from poor outdoor air quality will help you keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe. By understanding the dangers of air pollution and taking proactive steps to limit your exposure, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing health problems related to poor air quality.
Install a Home Air Purifier
One of the most effective ways to combat poor air quality is by installing a home air purifier. These appliances work by filtering out pollutants and allergens from the air, providing cleaner breathing air indoors. They come in different sizes and models, so it’s essential to choose a suitable air purifier for your home.
When selecting an air purifier, pay attention to filter quality, as it can significantly affect the appliance’s effectiveness. It’s also crucial to replace the filters regularly to keep the purifier working efficiently. Installing a home air purifier will ensure your indoor living space remains comfortable, even when smog and smoke plague the outdoors.
Stay Indoors if Possible
During times of poor air quality, it’s best to stay indoors. Close all windows and doors to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering your home. If you have an air conditioning system, make sure it is clean. Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in the air and prevent the growth of mold and allergens. Shuttering yourself indoors and sealing up doors and windows is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from poor outdoor air quality.
Take Extra Precautions When Going Outdoors
If you must go outside during times of poor air quality, take extra precautions to protect yourself. Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and has a high filtration rating, such as N95 or N99, to filter out pollutants. Avoid going out during rush hour when emissions are high.
If you must spend time outside, take regular breaks indoors. Spending some time inside where the air is clean can protect your respiratory health after long periods outdoors during times of poor air quality.
Check Air Quality Index (AQI) Before Going Outside
Before going outside, check the Air Quality Index (AQI) in your area. The AQI measures air quality in real time and provides information on pollutant concentration in the air. You can check the AQI through local news, weather apps, or the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website. If the AQI is high, take extra precautions and limit your time outdoors.