How To Protect Yourself and Your Family When Air Quality is Bad

Experts advise checking air quality alerts regularly. enables people to track air quality by entering their ZIP codes.

AirNow generated the chart shown at left, showing exact air quality conditions in a location in Pennsylvania.

Many smartphones have apps that also track air quality.

Experts recommend that people stay indoors as much as they can, with doors and windows closed. That includes avoiding activities like outdoors exercise, which can cause stress on the lungs.

People with dry eyes or irritated eyes may find relief with use of artificial tears.

If one must go outside, wear a KN 95 or N 95 mask to block harmful particulates in the air.

“The small particulate matters of 10 micrometers or less are most dangerous since they can enter the lung and even translocate into circulation if smaller than 2.5 micrometers,” noted Philippe Chahinian, MD, a doctor of internal medicine and an oncologist. “Exposure to such particles affects the lung (causing irritation, asthma, cough, bronchitis) and heart (causing irregular heartbeat, even heart attacks).”

People with respiratory-related health conditions, including asthma, should monitor their symptoms closely, and make sure their medications, like inhalers, are available or not expired.

People with asthma should use their rescue inhaler 15 minutes before they go outside.

Anyone experiencing shortness of breath or respiratory difficulties should contact their healthcare provider or seek emergency care.

Learn more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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