Monday, July 16, 2012 - Where there's smoke - there's particle pollution! If you've ever been near a forest fire, you know how thick the smoke can get. But did you know that means particle levels may be extremely high?
If you're healthy, you may have symptoms such as burning eyes or a scratchy throat, but you're not likely to have long-term effects. That's not the case if you're considered at risk from particle pollution, however, if you have heart or lung disease, and you live in an area where forest or agricultural fires are common, plan ahead.
Talk with your doctor about what to do when smoke levels are high. Learn simple ways to keep particle levels lower in your home. You may want to consider purchasing an air cleaner that uses a HEPA filter to help keep particle levels lower in your home. And while paper dust masks won't protect you, a disposable N-95 respirator will help - as long as you wear it correctly.
The AQI can help everyone make decisions about outdoor activities when particle levels are high. If you live in an area where there's not an AQI forecast, use common sense. If you smell wood smoke, follow the advice in the AQI to adjust your activities. Air Quality Guide for Particle Pollution
Fact Sheet: Health Threat From Wildfire Smoke
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Smoke Forecasts