Tips & Resources to Help You Prepare For Wildfire Season
As wildfire patterns continue to evolve, with longer wildfire seasons, increased fire frequency and greater burn area, we are more consistently seeing poor air quality days each year. (1) Particularly in summer, when wildfire season peaks, it’s highly likely that we will encounter smoke-filled, poor air quality days. Check out these tips and resources to help you prepare and minimize negative health impacts.
Stay up to date on your local air quality conditions by monitoring the daily AQI (Air Quality Index). The AQI is the Environmental Protection Agency’s metric for communicating air quality. The site airnow.gov is a wealth of information, including the ability to enter your zip code to see your local conditions. (2) Many smartphone weather apps now incorporate an AQI in their weather app, as well.
Limit or avoid outdoor activities when the air quality is poor, especially activities of exertion (like running), as that can further irritate the nasal and respiratory systems.
If you do need to be outside when air quality is poor, wear a well-fitting N95 mask to help minimize the pollutants you’re breathing.
Take extra care to wash your face and/or shower after being outside to help remove extra pollutants. This will help ensure you’re not getting a bunch of irritants on your pillow/hair and then sleeping in it. It can also be helpful to use a saline and/or xylitol-based nasal spray several times/day to help keep the nasal mucus membranes moisturized. I like Xlear nasal spray.*
Keep indoor air clean. Close windows and minimize door opening during poor air quality days. Consider an air filter, preferably HEPA, for the most thorough filtering capability. AirDoctor is a great option.* Don’t add to poor indoor air quality, skip vacuuming, lighting candles/fires, and smoking inside.
For those with ENT/respiratory conditions like allergies, asthma, and COPD, consider meeting with your doctor to put together a more specific action/treatment plan to help support you when air quality is poor.
Stay safe this summer and let us know if we can help support your health!
*I have no affiliation with these products/companies, these are just examples that I like.