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OHA suggests smoke protection methods during wildfire season

OMN Creative Team

Wildfire smoke affects Corvallis residents every summer, and as such, experts say knowing how to protect against poor air quality is of utmost importance.

Limiting outdoor activities is the easiest way to avoid harmful smoke inhalation, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Those in sensitive groups, such as those with asthma or heart disease, should stay indoors when the air quality reaches harmful levels.

Air filters can help keep the air indoors safe as well. OHA recommends high-efficiency particulate air filters and electro-static precipitators. Make sure to keep the fresh air intake closed on air conditioners as well.

A common misconception in regard to smoke protection is that a cloth or paper mask will filter air. Such masks only filter large particles and therefore still let air pollutants into the body.

On their website, OHA recommends using a particulate respirator marked with “NIOSH.” Masks effective against smoke have an “N,” “R” or “P” and the number 95, 99 or 100 printed on them. These masks allow cleaner air to be filtered through and can help protect from harmful pollutants.

There are many places to see air quality in your area, including weather apps and online websites, such as the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Oregon Smoke Information website. OHA recommends paying attention to weather alerts in your area to keep track of the air quality.

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