Idaho Smoke Map

Idaho Smoke Map Legend

**(Preliminary Data Warning: Data found on the map shown below is preliminary and is subject to change. Data is in local standard time format - no adjustment for daylight savings time.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Wildfire Smoke and Your Health - Protect Yourself

Hey! There you are. You came back. You are so dedicated to your health. Good for you. Today we’ll talk about how you can protect yourself from the smoke nasties.

Start by having a good look at your AC or air ventilation system. If you’ve got central air already, it may be as easy as upgrading your filter. Once you’ve done that, run your AC on the “recirculate” mode if you can so that it’s not bringing in more smoky air. If you don’t have AC, you may be able to run the fan with the heat off so that it’s still pushing through that nice new filter you bought.

Can’t do any of that? Or maybe you can but you want to make sure you are getting rid of as much particulates and VOCs as you can? Get a room air purifier with HEPA filtration and set it up in the room where you spend the most of your time. Don’t forget to take it to the bedroom when you sleep – you’ll breathe better AND be lulled to sleep by the white noise. You’re welcome.

A word of caution: the purifier needs to be sized appropriately for the room you are in. Ideally, it should be circulating the air 2-3 times an hour. If it doesn’t, you probably won’t see a big difference. When you go out to shop for an air purifier, be cautious. Some will say “HEPA-like.” They aren’t the same thing as a true HEPA filter and won’t be as effective. Also, make sure you don’t get a purifier that’s producing ozone. That’s another pollutant and also harmful to your health. You can check this website to see which have been approved as not producing harmful levels of ozone.

You can also go to Idaho Health and Welfare’s wildfire smoke page  (I know you already did it once because we already covered how dedicated you are) and read up on HEPA air cleaners. It’s under the main paragraph in big black letters : Portable Air Cleaners. Click that little plus sign and delve in. You’ll learn some good stuff. Next time we’ll talk specifically about how to choose a filter for your new air cleaner or if you are upgrading your HVAC filter. So long! Not too long though. You need to come back and finish what you started.

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