As residents of the Northwest, we can’t help but notice that August has become Smoke Season. Smoke and haze come to our area from fires both local and far away. Depending on the jet stream, we may get smoke from as far away as California, Alaska and British Columbia!
When there are air alerts and you are advised to stay indoors, is there anything else you can do to breathe easier?
If there is a smoke-free day, open your windows and flush your home of stale air and bring in the fresh air. This is especially important the longer your home has been closed up.
Use your furnace fan to circulate your indoor air and run it through your air filters.
Replace air filters before and after fire season with a high-quality allergen rated filter. HEPA filters will help with allergens and most particulates, however, smoke also contains gaseous pollutants that are more difficult to remove. Use an additional air cleaner, position it in a central location near your largest return air duct that contains a carbon filter for additional air cleaning.
Don’t add to the problem with candles, incense, vacuuming or cigarettes!
In your car keep the windows closed and use your air conditioning in the “Recirculate Mode”.
If you need to use a mask, don’t use a dust mask, use a N-95 or P-100 designated mask as they are designed for smoke particulates. They are available at most hardware stores.
If you have breathing and/or allergy issues be sure stay indoors and to use your medications as prescribed. Don’t hesitate to see your doctor if you find yourself coughing or losing your voice or feeling ‘foggy’. These are all symptoms of breathing issues.
Airnow.gov – for air quality reports