Health experts urge people to stay inside to limit exposure to hazardous air

SPOKANE, Wash. — Monday marked the third day of hazardous air quality in Spokane. With the prolonged haze came another warning from health experts to stay indoors.

Julie Postma is a registered nurse (RN) and the WSU College of Nursing Associate Dean for Research. She said that this air quality is bad enough to impact even the healthiest people.

“I hope that people are staying indoors, that they are finding activities that will still make them fulfilled,” Postma said.

Postma recognized that staying home can be tough, especially because it seems like that’s all we’ve been doing for months.

“We’re very concerned about people’s mental health. We already have isolation from COVID and here again, we are seeing conditions where we are asking people to stay indoors and not go out,” Postma said.

Exposure to hazardous air quality can cause congestion, head aches and throat irritation. For people with pre-existing conditions, the impacts can be even more severe, according to Postma.

The Air Quality Index works by monitoring how many pollutants are in the air on a scale of 0 to 500. As the AQI value rises, so does the level of health concern for the general population. When air quality reaches the hazardous range, it means the entire population is more likely to be affected.

If the levels reach beyond 500, it is considered beyond index. According to the U.S. Air Quality Index website, when pollutants reach hazardous or above, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. Experts recommend staying indoors and reducing activity levels.

Postma said the WSU College of Nursing is recruiting for a study about asthma and wildfire smoke. Participants can earn between $100 and $200 in Amazon gift cards. Contact WSU to see if you are eligible:

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