Tips to stay healthy during air quality alerts

Jul 25, 2023

WORCESTER, Mass. – Central and western Massachusetts had air quality alerts again this week thanks to smoke from Canadian wildfires, and doctors are warning people to check the air quality index before heading outside.

Saint Vincent Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Kevin Martin said sometimes the air pollution can be so bad, it cancels out the benefits of taking a walk outside.

For people with illnesses like asthma, COPD and emphysema, he recommends staying indoors when the air quality index is above 100. For people without these illnesses, he said to stay indoors when it’s above 150.

“The number one thing you can do is stay indoors, particularly stay indoors with the doors and windows closed,” Martin said. “If you have air conditioning, it’s good to run the air conditioning because it automatically filters out the air that you’re breathing. And another thing you can do is you can get a HEPA filter, stands for high-efficiency particle filter.”

Martin also recommends taking advantage of days with good air quality and getting outside when you can.

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