Prolonged exposure to smoke can be harmful to people of all ages, depending on the AQI reading as a measure of smoke density. Smoke can eventually damage your body's ability to remove large particles and excess phlegm from your lungs and airway. Small particles (PM 2.5) pose the greatest risk, because they can get deep into your lungs, and even into your bloodstream.
Symptoms of smoke exposure usually include irritation of eyes, nose, and throat or breathing discomfort, even in otherwise healthy people. More severe symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Anyone experiencing symptoms or with a known or suspected medical condition that could be worsened by smoke should contact their healthcare provider for further advice or call 911 if warranted.Who's Most at Risk?
Take precautions at appropriate AQI level if you are in a sensitive group:
Run a standalone, HEPA grade indoor air purifier. They come in many sizes, so choose one right for at least one room where you spend the most time, or get more than one. You can always move it from a bedroom at night to a living space during the day.
Run an air conditioner if you have one. Keep any fresh-air intake closed (many systems do not have one) and the filter clean. You can use a high-efficiency filter with a MERV 13 rating. Consult a local heating and air conditioning company to see if your system can handle a high efficiency filter like MERV 13. Air purifiers and filters can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.
Fine particles, but not hazardous gases, can be filtered with an N95 or N100 face mask. Please do not wear an N95 mask with one-way valves around other people. Exhaled air is not filtered in these masks and does not reduce COVID spread to others.
The material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The information on this website is NOT intended to diagnose, treat or substitute for professional medical advice. Those with medical conditions or sensitivities to smoke should seek the advice of a licensed medical provider. If individuals need more information, they should consult a medical professional.