Due to heavy smoke from Canadian wildfires, Minnesota had issued an air quality alert to a majority of the state. Most notably, northern Minnesota’s air quality index was higher than average for this time, due to the high temperatures and smoke from our neighboring country. So how does smoke from wildfires affect our indoor air quality, and is there any way to prevent it?
How Smoke Affects Air Quality
During a wildfire, the outdoor air becomes very unhealthy to breathe. Living in proximity to these areas can make the air so bad, that local officials advise people to not leave the house. However, the smoke particles are so fine that they can end up infiltrating indoor spaces.
Smoke is a mixture of gases and particles that are produced when materials burn. The largest health threat is the fine particles that emit from the burning of organic and inorganic substances. Even if you are not near the fire itself, you can still be affected by the fine particles. This is why the air quality index in Minnesota has risen due to the Canadian wildfires.
Health Effects of Smoke Exposure
While most Minnesotans won’t experience extreme health concerns, there may be issues for those with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory ailments. Common symptoms, both indoor and outdoor, are a stuffy nose, burning eyes, or even bronchitis. The fine particles can also aggravate lung diseases and even heart diseases.