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It is important to monitor local air quality, as it can change rapidly and have a significant impact on the health of individuals.
Current air quality conditions can be found on the Department of Environmental Quality's Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone.
The color-coded Air Quality Index provides current conditions and ranks air quality as follows:
|Green is good|
|Yellow is moderate|
|Orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups such as children, seniors, pregnant women and those with respiratory conditions|
|Red is unhealthy for everyone|
|Purple is very unhealthy for everyone|
|Maroon is hazardous|
For many months we have been encouraging the use of face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These coverings are still an effective method for reducing the spread and should continue to be used in all places required by the governor’s orders. However please note that Cloth, dust and surgical masks DO NOT PROTECT from the harmful particles in smoke.
On N95 masks:N95 masks that are tested to ensure proper fit and that are worn correctly may provide protection. Otherwise, they might just provide a false sense of security or increase . They are not recommended for strenuous activities and are in limited supply due to COVID-19.
Additional information on wildfire smoke and COVID-19 can be found on the Centers for Disease Control webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid-19/wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html
Please monitor air quality closely, and whenever possible stay inside when air quality conditions are unhealthy. Consider the following recommendations:
- Stay inside whenever possible.
- Cloth masks being used to reduce the spread of COVID-19 are not sufficient to protect against wildfire smoke.
- Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.
- Wearing a respirator can make it harder to breathe. If you have heart or lung problems, ask your doctor before using a respirator.
- If you have difficulty breathing, get dizzy, or have other symptoms while wearing a respirator, go to a place with cleaner air and remove it.
- Wearing a respirator, especially if it’s hot or you are physically active, can increase the risk of heat-related illness. Take breaks often and drink water.