As another sweltering summer continues, a growing environmental concern casts a shadow across North America. Wildfires have become an all-too-familiar hazard. According to the New York Times, nearly 900 wildfires have burned and devastated vast regions of the Canadian wilderness. This poses a serious threat to communities, ecosystems, and public health. And those repercussions are being felt in the U.S.
Information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows nearly 32 states have been affected. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses the Air Quality Index (AQI) to track how smoke from the fires are impacting the U.S. The AQI isa rating system that shows the severity of air pollution. An AQI under 50 is considered good air quality. But this past month, parts of the East Coast, South, and Midwest have experienced over 100 AQIs, meaning the air quality has been considered unhealthy.
EPA also states breathing in unhealthy levels of smoke and other air pollution can increase a person's risk of developing lung andheartconditions, and people who are 65 and older are considered high risk. Here are ways you can reduce those impacts.
Staying Safe during Poor Air Quality
Reduce the time you spend outdoors: According to the American Lung Association, you should spend under 30 minutes outside when AQI is high. You should also reduce the intensity of your workout.
Wear a mask: Researchers state N95 or KN95 masks have some of the best filtration capabilities.
Keep the air clean in your home: Make sure to keep your doors closed. The American Lung Association also says you can run the air conditioning on the recirculate setting and use a portable HEPA air cleaner.
For more information on clean air resources click here.
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