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How to protect yourself from the effects of wildfire smoke

Posted at 11:38 AM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 13:38:27-04

DENVER — As Colorado continues to experience poor air quality, there are a few things residents can do to protect their health.

“It’s probably a good idea to replace your furnace filter monthly right now,” said President of Plumbline Services Bob Logan.

Logan said typically, he suggests replacing a filter every 60 to 90 days, but right now filters are working overtime to clean the air in our homes due to the particles and gases wildfires are producing.

Logan saaid homeowners can buy inexpensive filters that are very effective from big box stores.

But no matter the filter you purchase, Logan said it’s important to keep the windows closed.

“The best thing to do is to keep the windows sealed up, keep the system operating, keep the fan running all the time so the air is circulating and being filtered all the time,” said Logan.

Colleen Reid, assistant professor of geography at the University of Colorado Boulder said if you go outside, bring a mask, especially those individuals who are experiencing allergy symptoms.

But the mask to protect yourself from the smoke is different than ones used against COVID-19.

Cloth masks aren't great at protecting the wearer from what they're breathing in, Reid said.

“So, to protect oneself from the air pollution, you want to wear an N95 or a KN95 mask,” said Reid.

According to Reid, it’s also important for people who have a lung disease or heart disease to make sure they are taking their medication and have plenty on hand because smoke from wildfires can make their symptoms worse.