NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Smoke from the Canadian wildfires recently prompted air quality advisories across much of the United States. But unsafe air is not always obvious.

Pollutants in the air are often invisible and odorless, but there are ways you can monitor the air quality around you, so you can stay safe.

“Microscopic particles in smoke are linked to asthma, coughing, difficulty breathing, even non-fatal heart attacks,” said Consumer Reports Kaveh Waddell.

Consumer Reports says there are numerous steps you can take to stay safe. Sign up for air quality alerts from your public health department. You can also get your area’s current air quality ratings and future air quality forecast on the Environmental Protection Agency’s AIRNow website and app.

Other apps: IQAir, PlumeLabs, and PurpleAir - also monitor Air Quality Index values.

But the best thing to do when pollution levels are high is to stay inside and keep outdoor air out of your home! Seal doors and windows with weather stripping and even duct tape. Stay away from laundry and bathrooms that may have ducts open to the outside.

“Look for an air purifier with a HEPA filter to get smoke out of your home. A carbon filter will help to get the smell of smoke out too,” Waddell said.

To evaluate air purifiers, Consumer Reports injects smoke particles into a sealed room and uses a counter to measure the number and size of the particles.

And if you do have to go outside when the air quality is bad, try wearing an N95 mask, the same kind of mask you may have used to protect yourself from COVID-19.

And if you're interested in checking the air pollution levels yourself, you can go to

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