July 19, 2021
While it can be easy to view extreme weather events as only impacting the outdoor space, this is far from the truth. When natural disasters hit, they affect our indoor air quality (IAQ) and can increase the risk of health conditions. In fact, in 2020, “36 counties in Washington, Oregon, and California experienced very unhealthy air quality ratings due to particulate matter from wildfire season,” according to NPR’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.
Think of it this way: Wildfires not only produce smoke outdoors, but they are made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles. PM2.5, otherwise known as fine particulate matter, can make its way inside your home if you don’t have proper air filters to recirculate the air or air cleaners to reduce indoor air particle levels. On the other end of the spectrum, moisture from hurricanes can seep into your walls and carpets. Aside from damaging homes, mold spores pose health risks, including stuffy nose or dry/itchy eyes. Unfortunately, for those with asthma, there may be more intense reactions, such as shortness of breath and chest tightness.
To get ahead of hurricane and wildfire seasons, you can take specific actions to protect the breathing quality for you and your family. Check out these recommendations to keep your home pollution-free, even if you’re not physically located in an immediate evacuation zone.
The airborne pollution caused by catastrophic wildfire seasons caught many people off-guard and unprepared. Miles away from blaze sites, people were experiencing the health symptoms of inhaling high PM2.5 and ozone (O3) concentrations. Although exposure to wildfire smoke may only last a few days or weeks, the impacts on your health can be much longer-lasting.
It’s spring cleaning time, and there is one “spot” you probably missed during your cleaning routine: your air. It’s easy to forget to make sure the air in your home is clean and safe, since air is--literally--out of sight, out of mind. Cleaning your air should be on your spring cleaning checklist, though, since indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outside--affecting allergies, asthma, concentration, sleep quality, and much more.
It feels like winter weather has finally arrived this week, with temperatures across the United States dropping lower and lower every day. Weather like this makes braving the outdoors seem less appealing and staying in our warm, safe homes the better option--but what if indoors wasn’t as safe as it seemed?