With the spread of the recent California wildfires in the areas around San Diego, Los Angeles and San Bernadino, a huge amount of damage has been done. Though the people living in the areas directly adjacent to the active fires are all too well aware of the harm they are doing, there are also less obvious effects of these fires that, unfortunately, are much more widespread. These come predominantly from the smoke and ash the fires produce. As the wind picks up these by-products, it can spread them far away from the actual fires. Here's what you need to know about the downstream effects of the current California wildfires.
How Can Downstream Smoke and Ash Negatively Affect Health?
Even in more normal levels, particulate matter is associated with a range of different upper and lower respiratory symptoms, ranging from coughing to general irritation. In the high levels that can be produced during major forest fires, particulate matter and smoke can increase the risk of cardiovascular issues and respiratory infections, such as influenza. These risks become all the worse for those suffering from chronic respiratory issues like asthma. The greatest problem associated with the ash and smoke being blown around California at the moment is that it can even affect people who are living far away from the areas where the wildfires are actually located.
How Far Are Smoke and Ash Spreading?
Though the actual conditions vary based on wind conditions at any one time, poor air quality thanks to smoke and ash from the fires is currently affecting areas spread as far apart as Fresno and Sacramento
. Much of the state of California is already under varying degrees of air advisories, and the conditions are unlikely to let up soon. Worse yet, the particulate matter created by fires can remain a problem for up to several weeks
after those fires end. This leaves a great deal of the state dealing with a potentially medium-term air quality challenge.
How Should You Protect Yourself?
If you live in one of the many areas that are experiencing poor air quality because of the ongoing California wildfires, there are several steps you should be taking to protect yourself. Some basic guidelines include:
- Wear a protective mask outdoors (we recommend EnviroKlenz protective masks for best results)
- Keep your windows shut
- Don't spend more time outside than you have to
- Avoid outdoor exercise to prevent excess inhalation
Though these guidelines will afford you some protection, there is still considerable danger in breathing air contaminated with by-products of the California wildfires. The best way to protect yourself is to use an air purifier to ensure that your home air is healthy, while at the same time continuing to limit your time outdoors. By doing so, you'll be able to control the quality of the air you breathe the vast majority of the time. To see our full lineup of recommended units, check out our page of air purifiers for wildfires
For those who need an air purifier quickly due to health concerns, we recommend IQAir, Austin Air and EnviroKlenz units, all of which ship within 24 hours of ordering. Blueair purifiers are also generally fast, shipping within about 48 hours. The Field Controls TRIO also ships from California, making it a good option for those who need an air purifier quickly.
Need help figuring out what air purifier is best for you? Don't worry, we're here to help. Feel free to contact us directly, and we'll be happy to answer all of your questions and help you pick out the air purifier that is best for your needs.