Smoke from the wild fires are hitting cities in the West Coast hard. According to KIRO 7 News, on Friday Seattle had the WORST air quality of any major city in the world! It's important to know what precautions to take when the smoke hits your town! Below are a couple tips to keep you and your family safe.
Protect Your Lungs
Protect your body and stay inside as much as you can. Breathing in smoke is hard on everyone's lungs. Some common smoke effects include: a cough, itchy eyes, headaches, drowsiness, shortness of breath, etc. If you are pregnant, have asthma, smoke cigarettes, or are over the age of 64, it's important you are extra careful. Smoke will also effect your pet's lungs, keep them safe too!
Reduce Smoke in Your Home
First and foremost, stay inside and keep your windows closed. Pay attention to the air quality index, it will often get better in the night. A good site to check the air quality is airnow.gov . If you have AC, set it to re-circulate if possible. If you are unable to set the AC, buy an air filter or learn to build your own by putting a MERV 13 filter into a box fan. Try to minimize turning on a gas stove or burning candles as it will effect your home's air quality. If you do need to leave the house for any reason make sure you bring a mask and continue to follow the COVID regulations.
Make sure that if you are in your car you have the AC set to re-circulate mode. If the smoke has yet to hit your city, safe your self the trouble and run to the store now to get the essentials: food, water, medication, etc. Try to exercise inside rather than outside! Any activities that require you to breath deeply can be very dangerous if done outside. If you have an N95 mask those will provide you and your loved ones the best protection from the smoke. Although with the current pandemic it is important those masks are saved for first responders. Cloth masks do not work as well to protect from smoke but are better than nothing.
What if I'm Bored and Feeling Unproductive?
This is totally normal! Long lasting fires and the smoke that comes with it can make people stressed, sad, dull, and even hopeless. It will get better soon. In the mean time here are some things to help pass the time: get some light exercise inside, find a hobby, online shop (I hear Seattle Shirt Company has the best product right now;)), play cards, listen to music, draw or paint, meditate, call your friends and family, learn a new language online, etc. How ever you feel is completely understandable, hang in there!
Source: UW Public Health