The Seattle skyline has been particularly hazy as wildfire smoke blows into town: Photo credit: flickr (Mobilus In Mobili)
Along with the COVID-19 pandemic, Seattle-area residents now have to contend with smoke.
Multiple wildfires are delivering smoke and ash into the air. As a result, outdoor conditions could become dangerous for sensitive groups, such as elderly people, folks with asthma and young children, and unhealthy for everyone.
While the smoky haze is with us, here are things you can do to protect your family.
There’s an app for that
Want real-time up-to-date information on the day’s air quality in your neighborhood? There is a new app for Washington State residents called Air Quality WA, available for both Apple and Android devices. Other apps like Air Visual allow you to assess daily air pollution forecasts and Sh**t! I Smoke reports air quality data with its "cigarettes smoked" feature — bringing home the point of how bad air pollution really is.
Not an app person? You can also check Puget Sound’s local air quality reports to find out the daily safety level of smoke pollution in your area. If rain and wind patterns change, smoke danger can increase quickly so it’s good to check back regularly.
As heartbreaking as it is to be indoors on such prime summer days, it’s just not healthy to be outdoors when smoke is bad. Local health experts are advising that you stay indoors with windows closed.
And if you must go outdoors? Avoid exercise and other strenuous activity outside as much as possible, and wear your mask.
If you’re feeling the impact of poor air quality inside your home, you might consider an air purifier. Save money and create a DIY air filter for your home for a fraction of the cost of buying, or, if you’re less handy, splurge and purchase one.
Nature’s remedy: Plants! Station air purifying indoor plants throughout your home to improve air quality. These plants also remove other harmful toxins and pollutants in your home. And (small) bonus: They’re a beautiful and on-trend addition to your home.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2018, and updated in August 2021.