Currently we are experiencing significant effects on our air quality in parts of Northern California and Nevada from smoke of the King Fire near Pollock Pines. We have already had two days of air quality indexes in the Unhealthy range and more are expected before this fire is stopped.
Air Quality is measured by a scale called the Air Quality Index. This can be found for your geographic area in the United States by checking AirNow.gov. A section half-way down the page on the right indicates the current conditions. The scale has a color-coded system for stratifying the level of danger from current conditions, with green being good (or safe) and maroon being hazardous. The color scale on the left side of the screen will explain the various levels of air quality and which groups are affected at that air quality index range. The example here indicates the meaning of “USG,“ or Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, means “Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.” Those groups expected to be more sensitive to air pollution are people with heart or lung disease, children, and the elderly. Other levels of air quality describe how different groups of people are affected by the current level of air quality. You should avoid being outdoors on days that your group is expected to be affected to current conditions and definitely avoid outdoor exertion on such days.
The effects of bad air quality predominantly occur in the lungs where certain toxic substances and small particles have effects. The effects are both immediate and long-term, depending on the particular substance. The effects are also variable depending on a persons heart or lung disease status and their individual genetic predisposition. If you would like to learn more about the health effects of poor air quality I recommend the American Lung Association website link in the description.
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