Managing Poor Air Quality This Summer

July 5, 2023

Wildfire smoke has been creating unhealthy to hazardous air quality events for many U.S. states, including Minnesota. Unfortunately, many wildfires are still burning, and that smoke will continue to come our way. Below are ways to stay safe during these tough air quality days.

What’s the issue?

Wildfire smoke hosts fine particles of soot, ash, and dust that are harmful for everyone to breathe. It can cause mild irritation to your eyes and lungs and aggravate pre-existing conditions. Wildfire smoke can make the air feel thick, hazy, or even change color. Always check the Air Quality Index to evaluate if your need to go outdoors can wait. The higher the Air Quality Index, the worse the air.

Ways to stay safe outdoors

  • Use an N95 mask or respirator mask. Cloth masks do not provide adequate protection from smoke particles.
  • Consider postponing or moving events indoors.
  • Avoid strenuous activities like exercise or lawn care.
  • Take frequent breaks in smoke-free places.
  • Avoid activities that create more smoke and air particles (e.g., burning wood or lighting fireworks).

Tips to make your indoor air cleaner

  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Set your air conditioning to “ON”, not “AUTO”, to allow air to recirculate.
  • Invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
  • Use ceiling fans and portable fans to help circulate air.
  • Avoid activities that create smoke and air particles (e.g., vacuuming or burning candles).

Learn more about how to stay safe if your job requires you to work outside from Health, Safety, and Risk Management.

Categories: Announcements

Tags: Public Health