31 Days of Learning to Breathe: Air Quality
We were planning a trip to the beautiful Sunriver, Oregon (one of our favorite spots) the first week of September. Just before we left I noticed a few friends who live in the area posted about the heavy smoke and thought "yikes". They even recommended we not go if we could put it off. But we couldn't, so we went. I packed plenty to do inside. There were more days that were smoky, then not, and we did spend a lot of time indoors. Also on the Sunday after we arrived we heard on the news that someone decided it would be fun to throw a firework in a popular hiking area thus basically setting the Columbia River Gorge on fire. The gorge is only a 45 minute drive from our home so we knew we'd be getting smoke from that when we returned home. See this post here about our trip.
I say all that to say, I was checking the air quality EVERY DAY for about 2 weeks. When the smell of smoke is so thick you can't see tops of trees and there is ash falling on you, you might want to just stay inside. If you're curious Air Now is a great site.
- "Good" AQI is 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
- "Moderate" AQI is 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
- "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" AQI is 101 to 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.
- "Unhealthy" AQI is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.
- "Very Unhealthy" AQI is 201 to 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
- "Hazardous" AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.
Take some time to really pay attention this week to the air quality around you. Pay attention to what comes across your news feed on social media. Go back and look at your timeline. What did you learn?