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Air Quality Advisory issued for Mesa County

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 12:30 PM MDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:29 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Mesa County Public Health has issued an Air Quality Advisory today at 9 a.m. and will continue through to 8 p.m. on Friday, August 6. Due to a wind shift, there is moderate smoke in the valley. The expected Air Quality Index today ranges from good to moderate, and the smoke dispersal forecast ranges from poor to fair.

According to the MCPH, “The smoke is to be wildfire-related, as it is not uncommon for haze from in-state and out-of-state fires to impact our air quality in the summer months.”

Some people don’t realize the impact moderate to poor air quality can have on their health since the most destructive components are invisible to the naked eye.

Citizens for Clean air tells us how important it is to check the air quality index. A range of 1-50 is good air quality. 50-100 is equivalent to moderate air quality, meaning those in sensitive groups who suffer from an underlying health condition are at risk. And anything above 100 is harmful to everyone. The Air Quality Index today reached the 90′s.

“Wildfire smoke can also bog down your immune system,” said Mesa County Public Health Communication Coordinator Stefany Busch. “So for other illnesses that may be going around, it’s easier to get those illnesses. So there are a number of factors, even if you’re not in those high risk categories, you still want to take it seriously.”

As far as keeping your air quality good inside, we have some tips. Do not open windows, even at night. Purchase an air purifier, run your air conditioner and make sure to replace the filter, or use a box fan with a filter attached to the back. Swamp coolers are not advised to use as they pull smoke and harmful air into the home.

“Particulate matter is the tiny particles that are in the air and they’re thinner than a tenth of a human hair,” said Vice President of Citizens for Clean Air Kristin Winn. “When they’re that tiny and particularly from wood smoke, not only will it get into your lungs but it can get into your bloodstream and cause other health issues. So the PM2.5 which is the tiniest particles are the most dangerous ones. And wood smoke has a large majority of PM2.5.”

With any moderate or poor air quality, health officials advise us to stay inside. If it is necessary to go outside, to wear an N95 mask to filter out the PM2.5

Some common symptoms people may notice when experiencing poor air quality is coughing, scratchy throat, irritated eyes, headache, or any breathing issues.

“The more study is done about air pollution and how it affects us, the more we discover that it’s not just people with asthma and breathing problems,” said Winn. “It’s pregnant women, people with heart disease. The incidence of stroke and heart attack goes up significantly when we have bad air quality days. And even things such as Alzheimer’s can be triggered by exposure to poor air.”

Unfortunately, this has become our new normal. As temperatures rise and wildfires increase - this is becoming a common occurrence. So it’s important people learn how to protect themselves. Citizens for Clean air tells us a good rule of thumb is if we are unable to see the book cliffs or the monument clearly from grand junction, there is a serious air quality issue.

Mesa County residents are advised to take the following precautions to stay healthy:

  • Avoid heavy outdoor exertion such as running or other forms of exercise.
  • Keep your indoor air clean and stay inside as much as possible.
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. You want to keep your indoor air as clean as possible.
    • Do not vacuum. It stirs up dust in your home.
    • Do not smoke tobacco in your home.
    • Contact your health care provider if you’re concerned about your health.

For more updates on air quality conditions and alerts in Mesa County, please visit health.mesacounty.us.

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