SPRINGFIELD — Wildfires in Canada are releasing pollution and putting smoke into the air, leading to poor air quality across Massachusetts. When the air is less safe to breathe, taking certain precautions is important in keeping the lungs healthy.
“Poor air quality is dangerous for everyone, but it can be even more harmful for those with weakened lungs,” said Kim D’Angelo, Operations manager at American Medical Response (AMR) in Springfield. “It is especially important for older adults and people with pre-existing conditions to limit their exposure to polluted air.”
AMR encourages Western Mass. residents to follow these safety tips to protect themselves from poor-quality air:
• Monitor local air quality. Refer to local air-quality reports and keep track of when the air outside is unsafe to breathe. The EPA’s air-quality monitoring website, airnow.gov, contains data about air quality across the country.
• Stay inside. If possible, stay indoors to limit exposure to smoke and pollutants. Close windows and doors and run air conditioners in recirculation mode to prevent outside air from entering the home.
• Wear a mask outside. If going outside is absolutely necessary, wear a well-fitted mask. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, masks are now in abundance, so, if you don’t have one at home, finding one at a local store shouldn’t be too difficult.
• Avoid outdoor exercise. When outside, avoid overexertion. Strenuous activities will put stress on the lungs, which are already working hard to filter through the polluted air.
For more information on poor-air-quality safety, visit ncoa.org.