How to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke can be terrible for your health†ó there’s no question about it. Wildfires send loads of smoke, soot, toxic gas, pesticide chemicals and particulates into the air, which can be carried for hundreds of miles, and have been linked to a number of nasty respiratory and heart problems. It’s not something you want to mess with.

Worried that your health may be compromised by a nearby (or distant) wildfire? Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and others.

Check your air quality.

In this case, never assume you’re in the clear. Sign up for air-quality alerts from AirNow.gov. They’ll let you know when pollution levels are unhealthy and provide†tomorrow’s forecast based on your zip code.

Air quality is labeled as Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG), Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy or Hazardous.†Sensitive groups include people with lung disease, the elderly, children and pregnant women.

Stay indoors.

While smoke can find its way into our homes and workplaces through doors, windows and leaky connections, the risk is significantly decreased indoors.

If you know that you may be exposed to wildfire pollution, limit your time spent outdoors and find ways to stay active inside. Now is not the time to go for a run around your neighborhood.

Buy a mask.

Masks certified as “particulate respirators” are the best choice when it comes to protecting against wildfire pollution. Look for the word NIOSH, as well as one of two designations: N95 or P100.

These masks have two straps that secure it to your head and are designed to block at least 95 percent of small (0.3 micron) particles in the air. They will usually have a visible filter around the nose and mouth area.

Run an air purifier.

An air conditioner with a fresh, clean filter will do a lot to keep smoke and chemicals from entering your home. It’s also important to keep the windows securely closed, both to keep cool air in and nasty pollution out.

If you don’t have an air conditioner, look into purchasing an air purifier†ó a small plug-in appliance that pulls particles out of the air via an intricate filter.

Design an escape plan.

If you are in the near vicinity of a wildfire, it’s important to take note of how it’s growing and traveling. Tune into state emergency-response offices for information regarding evacuations and look out for news about how utilities may be affected.

Wherever you are, keep an emergency kit with at least three days of food and water, health supplies and important documents at the ready, just in case.

61 comments

danii p
danii p13 hours ago

Thank you.

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danii p
danii p13 hours ago

Thank you.

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danii p
danii p13 hours ago

Thank you.

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Elizabeth M
Elizabeth Myesterday

Noted thank you Lauren.

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Janis K
Janis Kyesterday

Thanks for sharing.

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danii p
danii p4 days ago

Thank you.

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danii p
danii p4 days ago

Thank you.

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danii p
danii p4 days ago

Thank you.

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Janis K
Janis K7 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Maria P
Maria P9 days ago

Thank you

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