Many are aware of the recent air quality challenges that are being experienced across the country due to wildfire smoke moving south from Canada. New York and other cities in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Ohio valley will continue to have many days of smoke filled skies. During times such as these it is important to truly understanding what poor air quality means as this can effect your overall health and well being.
Air quality levels can change on a daily basis, especially when natural disasters are noted. It is important to stay informed - air quality alerts should not be disregarded,
as significant changes can cause health challenges, especially in high risk and more sensitive groups, such as infants, children and older adults. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) uses the Air Quality Index daily to rate levels of unhealthy air. The EPA levels range from green indicating that the air quality is at a good level, to maroon, when air quality is considered poor presenting a health risk and hazardous to public health. An AQI greater than 100 indicates poor air quality. Precautions should be taken under these unhealthy circumstances. Consider the following:
- Stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities, especially if you are in a high risk age group, or have chronic heart or respiratory conditions.
- Keep windows and doors closed.
- Use an air purifier and / air conditioner with high efficiency filter.
- Consider wearing a mask while outdoors, especially if you have a chronic condition. - Encourage children to stay indoors to play as they breathe at a higher respiratory rate, and their lungs are still developing. - Encourage older adults, especially those with chronic conditions to stay indoors and avoid outdoor and strenuous activities. - Check your local news paper weather page, or watch your local online or television reports to stay in the know.
It is important to consider some minor lifestyle changes on poor air quality days. Please reach out to our team if you need additional guidance.