Adults aged 65 and older, pregnant people, children and people with lung and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick from breathing in wildfire smoke. Symptoms can include wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.

If you have asthma, follow your asthma control action plan or contact your health care provider if you have symptoms. If you have heart disease and experience these symptoms, contact your health care provider.

The most protective option when air is unhealthy for you is to stay indoors with air conditioning, reduce strenuous activities and limit outdoor activities. If you have to be outside, N95 masks offer enhanced protection when used according to product instructions.

During unhealthy for sensitive groups (AQI orange) to unhealthy for everyone air quality events (AQI red), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) advises to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, or keep them short, if you must go outside. Otherwise, consider moving physical activities indoors, or rescheduling them.

For everyone else, coose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running), so you don’t breathe as hard. Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors, or wait until air quality is better.

During very unhealthy or hazardous for everyone air quality (purple to maroon Air Quality Index levels), MDHHS advises staying inside, with doors and windows closed, using MERV-13 or better air filtration.

If you don't have an air conditioner, seek shelter elsewhere. Call or text 211 or contact your local health department to find out if there is a shelter or cooling center nearby.

Use air filters to improve indoor air quality. Whether you have a central air conditioning system or a portable room unit, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from smoke.

If you don’t have access to those filter systems, you can create a temporary air purifier with a 2012 or newer box fan and attaching a MERV-13 or higher air filter to it. Learn more information on air filters and fans.

Wear an N95 mask, if you must be outside. Surgical and cloth masks are not recommended, as they are not designed to prevent breathing in the fine particulate matter in wildfire smoke.

For more information, or updates, visit

(Source: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

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