Particulate Matter pollution is a significant health threat. You breathe it into your lungs every time wildfire smoke is in the air.
Even if the pollution blows in from hundreds of miles away, the reduced air quality can be dangerous to your health.
If you’re generally healthy, short-term exposure to smoke won’t create significant risk factors to manage. It is still a good idea to avoid breathing it because of the microscopic items it contains.
How Come PM Pollution is Dangerous?
When you inhale particulates, the microscopic pollution penetrates deeply into the lung tissue. Large materials can coat your air passageways, leaving their contaminants to leech into your body.
You can tell if the particulate matter affects you because your eyes start burning, it becomes harder to breathe, and you might experience chest pain.
Anyone with heart or lung disease may experience worsening symptoms with exposure to wildfire smoke.
You may also have more phlegm to manage, experience wheezing, or have a cough develop that doesn’t go away.
How to Protect Yourself From Particulate Matter
The best way to protect yourself from particulate matter is to avoid going outside. Staying indoors while filtering any air that comes from the outside can prevent PM exposure. You may need to run your air conditioner to accomplish this outcome, cleaning your filter periodically to ensure it operates correctly.
Try to avoid using anything that burns when outside pollution levels are high. Even candles can stir up the microscopic particles that worked their way indoors.
A dust mask won’t stop the particulates from entering your lungs. It would be best if you had a P-100 or N-95 respirator to protect your breathing. These items are often sold out at stores because of the COVID-19 threat.
It also helps to follow your common sense. When it smells like a wildfire outside, don’t mow the lawn. If you must go out, stay in your vehicle with the air filter engaged to reduce exposure levels.