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Protect your health when air quality is poor

Posted on June 7, 2023

Somerville NJ

Smoke from Canadian wildfires is causing poor air quality in New Jersey. The NJ Department of Health has provided a factsheet on actions to protect your health on poor air quality days.

Sensitive populations

Sensitive populations (which includes the elderly, infants and young children, people with lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or chronic bronchitis) should remain indoors.

  • Individuals with asthma: Poor air quality may trigger asthma attacks.
  • Individuals with respiratory diseases: Follow physician’s recommendations and respiratory management plan.

People in general should avoid strenuous activities and limit the amount of time they are active outdoors.

For people who work outdoors or need to be outside:

  • Take more breaks indoors if possible.
  • Shorten the length and intensity of any physical activity.
  • The most effective way to prevent breathing harmful particles from wildfire smoke is to stay indoors with windows and doors closed.

If an air conditioner is available, run it while keeping the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.

When outdoor air quality is poor, do not use candles and fireplaces which could add to indoor air pollution.

Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home.

Do not smoke tobacco or other products, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke.

People who must be outside can have some protection from an N95 mask if worn properly.

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