What’s An Air Quality ‘Sensitive Group?’
We bring you warnings about air quality in Montana from the Department of Environmental Quality's air monitors, which are set up in various locations. The gauges measure the concentration of particles in the air, in this case, wildfire smoke. From that smoke concentration, the air quality can go from "Good" to "Moderate" to "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" to "Unhealthy" and then "Very Unhealthy," topped off with "Hazardous." On the Montana Today's Air website, select the date and you can see specifics on which concentrations cause which air quality listing.
Wondering if you fit in the Sensitive Group? Here are the details:
- Children up to the age of 17 can be more sensitive to air pollution. Their lungs are not done growing and they may have an unknown health condition.
- On the opposite age scale, Older Adults have a general higher amount of lung and heart diseases that increase their risks.
- Pregnant Women need to take care because as the baby is developing, bad air can affect their growth. Meanwhile, the mother is at increased risk from smoke exposure.
- People With Chronic Conditions such as asthma or cardio problems are definitely in the Sensitive Group category. People with asthma should follow their Asthma Action Plan and those with chronic conditions of any type should talk to their health provider.
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has more tips about protecting your health at their Air Quality website. At the very least, check the air gauge nearest your home and be careful. Officials have suggestions on limits of outdoor activity for each category including Light Activities such as walking or light yard work to Moderate Activities like brisk walking, tennis, canoeing and Vigorous Activities like aerobics, jogging and competitive sports. Be safe!
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