This post is in partner with AirDoctor. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please read my disclaimer page for more information.
Y’all know how much I love my AirDoctor air purifier. It’s been especially helpful in my new home as we paint the walls in keeping our indoor air clean.
We don’t have many, if any, wildfires here in South Carolina, but my friends out west in California, Oregon, and Washington have been getting more than their fair share the past couple years. In just 2021 alone, there have been over 4,000 fires in the United States – significantly more than in previous year – and some have been so large that the smoke has traveled more than 2,000 miles to reach the other side of the country, bringing concerns about air contamination from fires to us on the east coast too. Several people have messaged me to say what a LIFESAVER their AirDoctor has been in keeping their indoor air clean when their outdoor air is not. One of my California friends even told me that she got her AirDoctor BECAUSE of the fires last year and how contaminated her indoor air became as one of the fires was very close to her house.
What you may not know (I actually didn’t!) is that AirDoctor is actually a California based company, located in Los Angeles, so they KNOW the importance their air purifiers can play in keeping their own air clean during wild fire season. Here’s what they had to say about why wildfire smoke is so bad and what you can do to help keep your air clean.
What’s in Wildfire Smoke?
Many of us know that breathing wildfire smoke is hazardous, but we likely don’t realize exactly how hazardous it is. In fact, a recent study found that in the Western U.S., wildfire smoke attributes for more roughly half of all air pollution—and is considered to be the largest contributor of particulate matter (PM2.5), or air pollution molecules smaller than 2.5 microns. Exposure to particulate matter is considered to be a “silent killer,” prematurely killing millions of people every year. Even if not fatal, the EPA reports on a significant association between particulate matter and health complications like cardiovascular issues and respiratory problems, which occur because these small particles can enter the lungs and even the bloodstream.
More recently, additional threats have been found in wildfire smoke: high levels of lead and other metals. Lead exposure is especially problematic, as it’s considered a toxic air contaminant that has been linked with cancer and reproductive problems in adults, and learning deficits and behavioral changes in children.
For those of us who don’t have to worry about property losses or wildfires just miles away, there is a big concern for us, too. When smoke “ages” (i.e. lingers in the atmosphere and experiences changes with exposure to the Sun and chemicals in the air), it can become more toxic. Ultimately, whether in a wildfire-prone state like California or Oregon, or across the country in New Jersey or Connecticut, we’re likely breathing in significantly more nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—all of which have the potential to negatively impact our health, possibly even increasing our risk of death from COVID-19.T
I know, that’s a lot to take in, BUT they’ve got some good news, too.
Tips to Be Prepared for Wildfire Smoke
Being prepared for wildfire smoke is easier than you might think. Equipping yourself and your home with just a few additional tools can make a world of difference, and provide some peace of mind for you and your family.
Regardless of where you live, it’s a good idea to stay informed about fires both near and far. AirNow’s Fire and Smoke Map provides a map of fires taking place in North America. NOAA also has a Fire Weather Outlook page, which maps both fire watches and warnings.
Avoid being outside during an air quality warning
AirNow is also a good source for checking the air quality index (AQI) in a region, and most weather apps also include air quality information. Anything between 151-200 is considered “unhealthy” for the general public, and anything above 300 is considered “hazardous”. During these periods, avoid going outside if possible, and definitely steer clear of any strenuous outdoor activity during an air quality warning.
Have an appropriate mask ready
Keep in mind that not all masks will adequately protect you from smoke particles, and these include most cloth masks. Instead, a properly-fitting KN95 mask is a better bet, providing 95% protection for many of the particles in the air, including haze.
Designate a “clean room” in your home
During the wildfire season or periods with poor air quality, it’s essential that you have a “clean room” available for you and your family. This is a designated space in your home that is designed to keep levels of smoke and other particles as low as possible. As such, it should be a space where doors and windows are kept closed and activities that create particles aren’t performed. You can also use a damp mop or cloth to trap any particles that are present. Additionally, the clean space should be equipped with an air conditioner and portable air purifier. Use the air purifier at the highest setting, be sure that it’s appropriate for the size of the room, and choose one that cleans air more often (five times an hour is great!). Spend as much time as you can in the room to reduce your exposure to smoke and particles in the air.
Avoid anything that would contribute to indoor air pollution
In your “clean room,” it’s essential to avoid activities like smoking, burning candles, vacuuming, spraying aerosol products, using gas-powered appliances, and cooking. However, during periods of compromised air quality, it’s helpful to avoid these activities throughout the entire home, whenever possible.
No matter where you live, whether it be in wildfire country or not, we are all always so thankful for our fire fighters that keep us safe. AirDoctor air purifiers provide the safe, smoke-free indoor air, and firefighters are helping to do the same with outdoor air.
I never promote products that I don’t truly use and love myself, but when a product I love coincides with a company that is truly doing good in the community, it makes it even better. Thanks to purchases made by AirDoctor customers, they’ve donated 17,000 masks to help protect firefighting teams along the west coast, as they battle some of the biggest blazes in what is shaping up to be one of the worst wildfire seasons in history.
If you live in any area at risk for fire danger, please stay safe!
We are proud to offer a discount code for the AirDoctor Pro for $120-$300 off! Make sure click THIS LINK and your discount will show in your checkout!