Become a Fan

Senior to Senior: Air Quality

As if the heat weren’t bad enough, we are now besieged with questionable air quality, which is even harder to escape. The numbers, at times well over 100, are not encouraging. A good deal of the air pollution is due to smoke from wildfires, but even without that, our cities often look like they are cloaked in haze. This can’t be good. Seasonal wildfires are making what should be idyllic summers a nightmare. Poor air quality readings are becoming way too common, and experts tell us that episodes of air pollution are likely to get worse instead of better. Once again, we are faced with an unimaginable predicament. This is not the time for nostalgia; we need to protect ourselves and our families by limiting the amount of time spent outdoors, and once again consider wearing a good quality mask. Pollution follows you everywhere. Outdoor air, including pollutants, can enter your house through open windows, vents, or window air conditioning units. The EPA recommends using fans and portable air purifiers if you don’t have central air conditioning units that cool and distribute clean air throughout your house. That’s not too bad, but what about indoors? Indoors is where you really live. Did you know about keeping doors, windows, and fireplace dampers shut? Recommendations go even further than that; avoid activities that create more pollution indoors. We are talking about things like not smoking cigarettes, spraying aerosol products, frying or broiling food, vacuuming, and burning candles or incense. Children, elderly people, and adults with existing lung conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are particularly vulnerable. Even healthy people should try to stay indoors. Inhaled smoke particles can irritate the lungs and stress the heart. Not a good time to be jogging or doing much of anything outdoors. We can’t seem to win. Smoke in the air can trigger asthma attacks, worsen COPD, and worsen pneumonia. Symptoms to watch for include increase wheeze, cough, shortness of breath and chest heaviness. People with lung illnesses should keep inhalers handy. Seek medical attention if symptoms don’t improve with your normal medications. We can do this.