When it comes to smoke pollution safety tips, there are a lot. But which are the best and easy to follow?
One of the best smoke pollution safety tips is simply limiting exposure to smoke pollution. Stay indoors if you can, especially on high smoke pollution days. Add more green plants to your home or office. They act as nature’s air filters. You can also buy an HVAC filter to capture and trap any air pollutants such as smoke particles indoors.
Smoke pollution is made up of different fine particles and gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and the burning of organic matter. However, the biggest threat to human health is the microscopic particles found in smoke pollution.
Microscopic smoke particles can affect your respiratory system and get into your eyes whether you are inside or outside. You can experience burning eyes, running nose, and other health effects. Prolonged exposure to smoke pollution can worsen chronic heart and lung disease.
So if you live in an area with significant smoke pollution, it’s essential to take steps to stay safe and protect yourself from the effects. In this guide, we’ve put together some smoke pollution safety tips.
19 Smoke Pollution Safety Tips
Smoke pollution can have severe impacts on your health and general wellbeing. However, the health effects can vary depending on a person’s reaction to the smoke particles. You can take precautions to limit the harmful effects of smoke pollution and improve your wellbeing.
Here are some easy-to-do, practical smoke pollution safety tips you can try to protect you and your family from the effects of smoke pollution.
|Smoke Pollution Safety Tips||Pros of this Tip|
|Replace your HVAC filter||A powerful HVAC filter will keep working continuously for you to keep your indoor air clean.|
|Stay indoors||If you stay indoors in addition to the other tips on our list, you’ll be the safest from air pollution.|
|Wear a protective mask||If you must go outside, a Filti mask can keep you safest.|
1. Use an HVAC Air Filter
Smoke is one of the major air pollutants produced by wildfires and even your fireplaces. It can have an impact on both indoor and outdoor air quality. Although opening your windows helps to ventilate your home, it does not remove smoke particles. Furthermore, you cannot always do so in some extreme scenarios.
That is why you should think about getting an HVAC filter. But not just any HVAC filter will do. To improve your indoor air quality, use an HVAC filter with a MERV value of 13 or above that can capture and remove smoke particles.
Since smoke particles are virtually indictable, measuring at a mere 0.3 microns. These particles are so small that they can pass through low MERV-rated HVAC filters.
If you don’t know how to choose the best HVAC filter to capture and remove smoke particles, you can consult our HVAC industry specialist. They can advise you on the best HVAC filter for your system.
2. Stay Inside if You’re Told To
If there are high levels of smoke pollution outdoors, it might be best to stay indoors. Staying indoors will reduce the limit of your exposure to smoke pollution.
Try to avoid working out in the open because more smoke particles will get into your lungs. Breathing in these smoke particles can lead to severe long and short health effects.
Instead, you can do at-home exercises to stay healthy. However, if it’s an emergency that requires you to go outside, make sure you wear proper face protection. This includes wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from microscopic smoke particles.
3. Wear a Protective Mask
Wearing a proper protective mask helps limit exposure to smoke pollution. Generic paper masks are not enough to protect you from inhaling smoke particles. They can only filter out large particles such as dust. Therefore they will not protect you from smoke pollution.
Instead, opt for a respirator. A respirator is a mask such as the N-95 or N-99, which are the best option. You can buy an N-95 or N-99 mask from a drugstore. However, they are typically expensive.
If you want complete protection from smoke pollution, you can try an escape respirator. Although it may not be 100% effective at trapping smoke particles, it will help. Just wear your protective mask properly and make sure it’s well fitted to avoid smoke particles getting through.
4. Check Your Local Community Air Pollution Guides
Some communities have guides that include readings on the number of smoke particles. For example, the states in the western part of the United States have guidelines to help you determine the levels of smoke pollution in your area.
5. Seal Drafts
This is a good smoke pollution safety tip because it is cost-effective and saves you money on your energy bill. As discussed earlier, smoke particles are tiny and can enter your home through minor cracks.
Inadequately sealed doors and windows allow even the tiniest particles, such as smoke particles, to slip through. Correctly sealing your doors and windows will limit smoke particles entering your home.
6. Check Air Quality Reports
Stay up-to-date with reports and news on the smoke pollution. You can also check the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index for reports on smoke pollution levels. In addition, you can listen to and watch public health announcements on smoke pollution in your area.
Color-coded forecasts can also show you areas with high smoke pollution. And sources such as AirNow Fire and Smoke Map can also give you real-time updates on any changes in the smoke pollution levels. You can also check your local air reports for the latest reports specific to your area.
7. Keep Your Home Clean
Make sure your windows and doors are closed if you’re advised that there are high levels of smoke pollution outside. Run your air filter to maintain clean air in your home.
8. Avoid Indoor Activities That Can Increase Indoor Air Pollution
Do not burn candles or use a fireplace. These can increase the amount of smoke pollution in your home. Also, avoid smoking because it can add more smoke pollution to the air.
9. Limit Outside Activities
When smoke pollution is terrible outside, exercise indoors instead. Exercising outside increases the chances of smoke pollution entering your lungs, leading to respiratory health problems. Therefore, limit the amount of time you spend outside if the air quality is poor.
10. Adjust Your Air Conditioner to Keep Smoke Out
If you have an air conditioner, do not use it in high levels of smoke pollution because it can recirculate smoke back into your home. Consider using a fan or window air conditioners. Ensure all the cracks between the air conditioner and window are sealed tight.
11. Go Green
This is one of the few smoke pollution safety tips that can benefit you and the environment. Add a few green plants to your home to improve the air quality. Plants such as Aloe Vera and Spider plants can remove small smoke particles and improve indoor air quality.
12. Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers can help remove air particulate. You can purchase air purifiers that have been more rigorously tested for removing specific sizes of particles. These air purifiers will usually have information on how much air can be cleaned in an hour and the specific range of sizes that can be filtered. There’s also a video and instructions on how to build your own.
13. Use An App To Keep You Updated On Smoke Pollution Levels
Nowadays, it appears like there is an app for practically anything. Apps like CityAir provide thorough reports on smoke pollution levels in specific areas or cities. So it makes sense that there would be apps to assist you in keeping track of smoke pollution levels.
These levels tend to fluctuate throughout the day. So, before leaving the house, you can use the app to check the levels of smoke pollution. The app also contains advice on how to decrease your exposure to smoke pollution.
Plume Air is another app that displays real-time smoke pollution rates. It also gives you tips on the best time to do activities to reduce smoke pollution exposure.
Cleanspace air pollution is ultimately the best app since it provides a complete picture of the various types of air pollution in your immediate area. And that includes indoor and outdoor pollution.
14. Run an Indoor Air Quality Testing
The problem with the indoor solution is that the levels are often a bit more concentrated than they are outside. This puts you, your family, and even your family pet at greater risk of contamination and exposure to toxic fumes.
The pollution in your home is easy enough to deal with because it is an environment you can monitor more closely and control. But it is often best to know what is affecting the indoor air quality first and what kind of pollution it is in your home.
15. Avoid Areas Prone to High Smoke Pollution
When you are outside, avoid areas prone to high levels of smoke pollution. These are significant highways with a lot of traffic. Combustion released from cars is a common source of smoke pollution. Smoke pollution from cars accounts for more than 50% of air pollution.
So, if you’re going to go outside, try to avoid busy highways where smoke pollution is likely. However, if you reside near a high-traffic area, keep your windows closed, especially during peak times such as rush hour. Instead, open them later in the evening when there is less traffic.
Avoid industrial regions with power plants that produce a lot of smoke pollution. You can look for industrial places to avoid on the EPA’s website.
16. Do Not Smoke
Smoking can worsen the levels of smoking pollution both indoors and outdoor. Therefore, if you avoid smoking, you not only reduce the health effects of smoke pollution but also lower the levels of concentration.
17. Reduce Fireplace Uses
We all like a warm fireplace, especially during the winter. On the other hand, fireplaces emit smoke particles that can recirculate indoors and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Instead, use a heater to lessen interior smoke pollution during the winter months.
18. Get Regular Check-Ups
Visit your doctor, especially if you are traveling, to see whether you have any respiratory problems. If you have a respiratory disease like asthma, talk to your doctor about receiving an inhaler to decrease the effects of smoke pollution on your health.
19. Eat Healthy Foods
Can food be used to mitigate the effects of smoke pollution? Yes, according to experts. Smoke particles raise the quantities of radicals in your body, leading to inflammation.
As a result, eating fruits and vegetables, particularly those with anti-inflammatory properties, can provide nutrients that can help combat the impacts of smoke pollution. Look for foods high in vitamins B, E, and C.
Smoke Pollution Safety Tips: Key Takeaways
If you are pregnant, have a breathing issue such as asthma, or are elderly. With smoke pollution being one of the leading causes of death, it is critical to take the required actions to mitigate the health effects of smoke pollution.
Following the smoke mentioned above, pollution safety tips can keep you safe from smoke pollution. If you are continually sneezing or coughing when you are outside, you should contact your doctor.
Consider our smoke pollution safety guidelines whenever you have sore eyes or a cough. They can assist reduce smoking pollution, which will improve your general health. Thanks for checking out our smoke pollution safety tips.
FAQs about Smoke Pollution Safety Tips
Who Is at Greater Risk of Smoke Pollution?
People who suffer from heart and lung diseases, including those that have asthma, are at a higher risk. Older people particularly can be severely affected by smoke inhalation. Children are also at a higher risk. This is because their airways are still growing, and they spend a great deal of time outside. Furthermore, pregnant women are also at a higher risk of being affected by smoke pollution. They can give birth to underweight, premature babies.
How Do I Find Out About Air Pollution Levels?
The EPA has established an air quality index to tell you how polluted the air is. AirNow provides information on the levels of air pollution. In addition, AirNow provides reliable readings on smoke pollution levels and other air contaminants in real-time. The map on AirNow separates fire and smoke areas using sensors installed in various locations to track smoke fumes.
How Can I Help Tackle My Contribution to Smoke Pollution?
You can do many things to limit your contribution to smoke pollution. For starters, you can consider alternative modes of transportation. If you live close to your office, you can ride your bike or carpool with your coworkers. Reduce your use of fossil fuels when cooking and instead choose renewable energy. Cut down on smoking. You also purchase more locally grown produce.
How Does Smoke Pollution Affect My Health?
Numerous studies have linked the health effects of smoke pollution. And smoke pollution can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, especially in the elderly. It can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other long-term health conditions. Short-term effects of smoke pollution include shortness of breath and skin and eye irritation. The severity of the health effects depends on the duration and the levels of exposure.
What Is an Air Quality Index?
An Air Quality Index offers a complete indication of the air quality in a region. It is the comprehensive assessment of the health impacts of smoke pollution and other air pollutants over a given period. The primary goal of an Air Quality Index is to offer reliable, real-time assessments of air quality and its effects on our health. The EPA calculates the levels of primary air pollutants such as ozone and particle matter using the Air Quality Index.
How I Read the Air Quality Index?
The Air Quality Index ranges from 0 to 500. The more significant the value, the more smoke pollution and health impacts. A value of 50 or less, for example, indicates good air quality, whereas a value greater than 300 indicates inferior air quality. This is usually harmful to one’s health. A rating of 100 indicates the best air quality. The colors also represent various health impacts.
What Is an HVAC Filter?
An HVAC filter is a component of your home’s HVAC system that plays a crucial role. These filters absorb and remove contaminants from the air. That includes dirt, smoke particles, and allergens, among other harmful particles found in the air. They are critical for maintaining clean indoor air quality by preventing unfiltered air from recirculating in your home.
How Often Should I Clean My HVAC Filter?
Several things determine it. For example, if you live in a smoke-polluted area, you’ll need to clean your HVAC filter more frequently. This means at least once a month to avoid the accumulation of air contaminants. It is also affected by the type of HVAC filter you have. However, it is mainly based on whether the HVAC filter is dirty or not.
What Is the Best Way to Reduce Smoke Pollution in My Home?
If you live in a wildfire-prone location, you may experience higher smoke pollution indoors. There are, however, practical methods for reducing smoke pollution in your house. You can buy an air purifier. Investing in a high-quality air purifier will keep your home free of smoke pollution. The most effective thing you can do, though, is to get an HVAC filter. They are better suited to capturing indoor smoke particles and improving indoor air quality.
Where Can I Buy an HVAC Filter?
There are numerous places to buy an HVAC filter. You can, for example, buy an HVAC filter online or in-store. Some online stores provide subscription services, allowing you to stay on top of HVAC filter replacements. Determine the size and type of HVAC filter you need. If you are unsure about the HVAC filter you require, you can consult with an expert to help you choose the best one.