That smoky haze isn't just unsightly. It's unhealthy, too, especially for people with heart or lung issues, the elderly, pregnant women and children.
These five tips can help you stay safe until the air clears:
- Monitor risk with AirNow.gov. Limit exposure when air quality dips to "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."
- Keep doors and windows closed. Rely on air conditioning, but close the fresh air intake and replace the air filter more often. In your car, use recirculated rather than fresh air. Once air quality improves, open windows to freshen your home and change your car's air filter.
- Limit exposure, both indoors and out. Postpone yard chores and exercise. Avoid vacuuming the carpet, which can send settled particles floating back into the air.
- Don't rely on dust masks. They don't filter the smallest (most damaging) particles and may cause you to inhale more deeply. Instead, look for a mask rated N95, which will block most particles.
- Know when to get medical help. A scratchy throat, mild cough and itchy eyes are normal during poor air quality. However, a cough that won't go away, shortness of breath, fatigue, unusual weakness or chest pain and tightness should be checked out.