This has been a summer of records for the Portland Metro area, most days with a temperature of 90 degrees or higher and also having the worst air quality in the entire United States on multiple days due to the many wildfires burning all around us. Wildfires are spreading across the nation and it’s affecting the quality of your air. Is it affecting your indoor air quality too? Make sure your air is safe.
Wildfires are dangerous — and not just to those directly in the line of fire. They pollute the air, leaving dangerous contaminants. It can be as bad for you as smoking daily.
If you don’t take the right precautions, the indoor air quality of your home might be seriously harming your health or the health of your family. To learn what to do to protect your family with good indoor air quality, read on.
Health Impact of a Wildfire
We know wildfires present an urgent danger of property ruin, burn injuries, and death. To our families, our homes, and our communities. What’s less well-known is how wildfires can harm our health through air quality.
When fires spread, air quality absolutely plummets. This affects your health in big ways. Let’s take a look at what wildfires do to the air, and what you can do to keep safe.
Indoor Air Quality and Wildfire
Living downwind to fire smoke can bring contaminant particles into your house equal to smoking 1 to 7 cigarettes a day. Nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and ozone, as well as particle concentrations, can be off the scales. These toxic pollutants wreak havoc on air quality.
People with asthma and those with heart-conditions can be susceptible. They are particularly dangerous for vulnerable populations like children and older adults.
Some impacts are immediately noticeable. It’s difficult to know what the long-term consequences might be, especially as wildfires get more frequent and intense. But how can you tell if the air quality is bad?
Indicators of Poor Air Quality
There are some common symptoms that indicate poor or dangerous air quality due to fire. They are:
- Asthma attack
- Stinging or redness in eyes
- Sore and scratchy throat
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Common health impacts after repeated exposure to wildfire smoke include respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease. Worst of all, both symptoms and health impacts are on the rise. Why?
Because wildfires are increasing in size and frequency due to climate change. That means the issues wildfires that cause to air quality are likely to increase.
So there’s some urgency to seal and filter your house for the sake of your health. Only this year, the biggest fire on record hit California and another 17 wildfires caused damage across other areas of the state.
Where Am I Most at Risk?
Knowing the dangers wildfires bring bad air quality, you’re probably wondering what you can do to protect yourself. It’s critical you stay alert. Monitor your local and/or state’s press releases around wildfire season.
This not only ensures you know when to evacuate if the fire moves. It means you can get take appropriate action to seal up and properly filter the air of your house. But once inside, you’re still in danger of poor air.
While the hazy sky outside might suggest you’re safest indoors, it’s not totally correct. Research suggests that 80% of the exposure to poor air happens indoors. Let’s look at how to protect your home from it.
How Can I Protect My Home?
Avoid activities such as vacuuming or lighting candles around wildfire time. These can add extra particles to the poor air you are already breathing. A central HVAC system can filter the air in your house and bring indoor air quality back to safe levels.
Improve Your Indoor Air Quality Today
If you’re in a region that experiences wildfires, think about an HVAC for health. Most of us would scrunch up our nose at the idea of smoking a cigarette because we value our health.
And yet, you can be breathing in air so contaminated that it’s the same as smoking 1 to 7 cigarettes a day. But you can improve indoor air quality and protect your family’s health with a great HVAC. Contact us today for a quote on a residential HVAC with a Media Air Cleaner system to keep your indoor air quality at its best.