You’ve had a headache for two days. The tickle in your throat has become a constant pain. And your airways feel like they’re swollen. It’s the soot and ozone in the summer’s worst week of air quality.
Besides hiding behind closed doors, how should you defend yourself against the afternoon ozone and the soot siege from the Rough fire east of Fresno?
Bee health reporter Barbara Anderson and I have interviewed many allergists over the last decade or so. We came up with a few suggestions. But if you are an asthmatic or you’re having heart difficulties, go see a doctor.
Here are the suggestions:
▪ When you go home at the end of the day, change clothes. Take a shower and wash the tiny soot specks out of your hair. Rinse your nose with an over-the-counter solution, which you can find at a drug store. Don’t go back outside afterward.
▪ Use the recirculation feature on your air conditioning when you are driving. It circulates air inside the car, instead of bringing it in from the outside. Also, replace your interior air filter if your car has one.
▪ If you’re saving on electricity by hanging your clothes out to dry outside, don’t. You’ll be bringing soot back into the house when the clothes are dry. Use your indoor dryer instead.
▪ Don’t run or ride your bike outside if you can smell smoke. Skip it or work out on a machine indoors.
▪ If you are particularly sensitive to smoke, wear a simple breathing mask, the kind you can buy at a hardware store. It will not filter out the smallest specks, but it will stop larger ones.