Michigan Dept. of Health Sets Up New Hotline To Answer Air Quality Questions
Don't go outside!
Over the past week Michigan's air quality has been impacted by the smoke from the Canadian wildfires. While air quality levels continue to reach dangerously high levels of pollutants, authorities at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) are urging residents to stay indoors and limit their time outside.
Another Action Day
According to the MDHSS although anyone can get sick from exposure to wildfire smoke, those with pre-existing conditions like asthma or heart conditions, pregnant people, children, and adults over age 65 may be more sensitive to particle pollution.
Currently the air quality index (AQI) for West Michigan is rated 224. For the record, between 0-50 is considered "good."
I'm not someone who typically checks the air quality index, or even pollen levels often, so I don't know what these numbers mean when it come to "good" or "bad" levels of pollutants.
Thankfully the MDHHS just set up a new hotline for Michigan residents to ask health-related questions regarding air quality issues!
Air Quality Hotline
Michigan residents who are concerned about health-related issues during this time are encouraged to call 1 (800) 648-6942. The new hotline will be available Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for holidays--like the 4th of July.
Experts say wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath can all be symptoms of breathing in particle pollution from wildfire smoke. The best option for you when air is this unhealthy is to stay indoors--preferably with air conditioning--avoid strenuous activities, and limit outdoor activities.
When Will the Smoke Clear?
Some reports say it's possible we could see smoke over the next couple of weeks! According to WWMT, Canadian crews were battling over 400 active wildfires, with half of them considered "out of control."
Michigan DNR Fire Prevention Specialist Paul Rogers says Canada has had a very dry summer like we've been experiencing here in West Michigan. Although summer is typically considered Canadian wildfire season, the season got a jumpstart in May thanks to lightning strikes.
The fact that Canada is nearly 40% forest doesn't help matters. Hopefully they are able to get things under control soon!
Find more info on air quality in West Michigan and how to keep your family safe here.