How to Protect Yourself From Wildfire Air Quality Changes
As climate change continues to fuel the frequency and intensity of wildfires across the globe, it is crucial to understand the potential health risks associated with wildfire smoke and take appropriate measures to protect ourselves. At Coway, we hope to provide practical steps to safeguard your health and minimize exposure to poor air quality caused by wildfires. In this blog, we explore effective strategies and essential tips to help you create a cleaner indoor environment, ensuring you can breathe deeper and feel better amidst wildfire air quality challenges.
How Do Wildfires Negatively Impact Our Health?
During a wildfire, the burning of vegetation releases a diverse range of particles and gasses, including organic carbon, black carbon, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants. These particles and gasses can spark a host of detrimental respiratory and cardiovascular complications for anyone experiencing the pollution.
When discussing air quality, we commonly focus on PM2.5, which refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or smaller. These particles are tiny enough to penetrate deep into the lungs. Exposure to PM2.5, whether from smoke during wildfires or other sources like vehicle emissions, can have severe effects on our health and well-being.
It's important to note that the type of substance burning can significantly impact the chemical composition and potential health risks of a wildfire.
When Is Wildfire Season?
In North America, most wildfires occur between June and August, or what is known as wildfire season. Typically, wildfires peak in August because of the increasingly dry and hot climate across the continent.
Climate crises have only expanded the ramifications and duration of wildfires through drought, heat and wind. Even if you do not live near a raging wildfire, you still might experience air quality changes and smoke exposure. This is because smoke is a complex mixture of gasses and fine particles that travel with ease.
How to Combat Wildfire Air Quality Changes
In regions prone to wildfires, the impact on air quality can be significant, posing serious health risks to communities. As wildfires continue to become more frequent and intense, it is crucial to understand how to combat the changes in air quality caused by these natural disasters.
By implementing certain measures, you can mitigate health risks and create a safer indoor environment amidst changing air quality conditions.
1. Stay Informed
Keeping yourself updated about wildfire activities in your region is the first step towards protecting your health this summer. Local authorities, meteorological agencies and environmental organizations often issue air quality advisories and alerts during wildfire events.
Make use of reliable sources such as government websites, weather apps and local news channels to monitor the air quality index (AQI) in your area. By staying informed, you can take necessary precautions and make informed decisions regarding outdoor activities.
2. Create a Safe Indoor Environment
When wildfire smoke affects air quality, it is essential to create a clean and safe indoor environment for you and your family. During wildfires, keep windows and doors closed to prevent smoke from entering your home or workspace.
Utilizing air purifiers with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can also remove fine particulate matter from indoor air. Coway’s Airmega Aim, the latest innovation in air purification technology, combines the functionality of a fan and an air purifier to provide exceptional air purification and efficient air circulation. With its 3-stage filter and dynamic 360-degree air intake, the Airmega Aim cleanses the air in a 492 square-foot room in just one hour, making it perfect to clean and cool smaller spaces like a studio or dorm room during wildfire season.
3. Limit Outdoor Activities
During periods of poor air quality caused by wildfires, it is advisable to limit your time spent outdoors, especially during peak smoke hours. Wildfire smoke tends to be more concentrated in the early morning and late evening. If you must go outside, though, consider wearing a mask rated N95 or higher, as it can help filter out fine particles and reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants.Keep in mind that masks alone may not provide complete protection, so minimizing outdoor exposure is still the best approach.
4. Improve Indoor Air Quality
To further enhance indoor air quality during wildfire events, take proactive measures to reduce indoor pollution sources. In addition to investing in a reputable air purifier, such as the Airmega 400, which removes 99.999% of all airborne contaminants down to 0.01 microns, you can also avoid activities that can contribute to poor air quality, such as smoking, burning candles or incense or using harsh cleaning products. Additionally, try to avoid using appliances that can release pollutants, such as gas stoves and heaters. Instead, opt for electric alternatives when possible.
5. Stay Hydrated and Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Since wildfire smoke can cause respiratory irritation and inflammation, it is important to support your respiratory system during periods of poor air quality. Staying hydrated can help you do just that.
Proper hydration helps your liver and kidneys remove toxins, reducing systematic inflammation from smoke. Water also keeps your airways moist. Alongside using reliable Coway Aquamega water purifiers to clean and purify your water, you can foolproof your water-drinking routine by carrying a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go to encourage regular hydration throughout the day. It is almost important to generally maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, which can help mitigate the damaging effects of pollutants on your body.
6. Seek Medical Advice, if Necessary
Any person with a pre-existing respiratory condition, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of wildfire smoke. If you experience persistent symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness, consult a healthcare professional for guidance. They can provide personalized advice, prescribe medications if needed, and help you manage your respiratory health during periods of poor air quality.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones This Wildfire Season with Coway
As wildfires become an increasingly common occurrence, protecting ourselves from the wildfire air quality changes is essential. By staying informed and creating a safe indoor environment, we can minimize the health risks associated with wildfire smoke. Remember, taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your loved ones is crucial for your well-being, especially during wildfire events.
With Coway, you can rest assured you are prioritizing both your indoor air quality and health. Learn more about our range of air purifier offerings today.