Think you have to stay inside on a Code Orange AQI day in your area? You may be surprised to learn that isn’t usually the case. Think of the AQI like a weather forecast – and use it to plan your outdoor activity.
Finding the AQI is easy. It’s available on the Web, on many local TV weather forecasts, and through free e-mail tools and apps. Once you have the forecast for your local area, check the health recommendations to see how to reduce the amount of pollution you breathe in.
Let’s say that ozone air quality where you live is forecast to be code orange tomorrow. If you’re a runner – even if you’re healthy – you’re in an at-risk group. You can reduce the amount of ozone you breathe in a few ways: Plan your run for the morning, when ozone levels generally are lower; shorten your run, or walk instead; or run on a treadmill indoors.
On a day when particles are forecast to be at code orange or above, take similar steps if you have heart or lung disease. Do something less intense – like walking instead of running; take a shorter run; or reschedule your run for a time when air quality is better.
AQI recommendations apply to other outdoor activities, too – including activities like working in the garden! So on a poor air quality day, think about doing less-strenuous chores, like weeding instead of moving around heavy mulch.
Most of the time, changes like these will help you reduce your exposure. But if you’re at risk from air pollution, and the AQI is code purple, don’t exert yourself outside at all. At code purple, even healthy people should not be active outdoors. This doesn’t happen often, but the AQI does reach code purple at times, such as during wildfires and dust storms.
Find your AQI forecast: