MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State regulators says we’re facing an unprecedented air quality warning. Throughout the day, we’ve seen smoky skies and muted skylines as the smell of smoke lingers, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency now says they expect smoke to stick around until Tuesday.
The smoke is blowing south, blanketing the entire state and much of Wisconsin in a thick haze.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Air Quality Alert Extended Due To ‘Unprecedented’ Conditions
We’ve already seen the air quality index at the second-most dangerous level. We will see it on and off that level through Tuesday, so there are some activities you may want to avoid this weekend.
“It’s from the wildfires in Canada,” Grant Gallagher said. “When it came inside my nose it was stuffy from the smoke.”
Even at 4 years old, Gallagher knows these aren’t the summer skies he’s used to.
“Yesterday we couldn’t go outside at all,” Grant’s mother, Courtney Gallagher, said. “They were outside for about a half an hour yesterday and came in with tight throats and him a stuffy nose.”
Dave Langille, of Minneapolis, says his chronic asthma has been flaring up.
“This is part of what it’s like to be a kid today. You wake up with this smoke in the air,” he said. “I have to take extra medication extra inhalers things like that. So I really couldn’t walk outside.”
As we wait for the smoke to clear, what can we do safely this weekend?
“People with lung problems really shouldn’t be outside this weekend,” said Dr. Andrew Stiehm, a pulmonologist at Allina Health’s United Lung and Sleep Clinic.
Exercising outside this weekend is in the red zone, meaning if you can avoid it you should. But if you are going to be outside, masks can help and N-95 or KN-95 is going to protect you a lot more than this cloth mask
“An N-95 would make a lot of things reasonable this weekend if you’re willing to wear an N-95,” Stiehm said.
Stiehm says running a quick errand or spending a short amount of time outside doing something less strenuous will be fine for some, putting it in the yellow zone. It all would depend on things like your age and health status.
“Our kids are somewhat more vulnerable. They’re outside more, they’re a little less disciplined, and are more likely to be active,” said Stiehm.
So what’s in the green zone? Moving plans indoors is the safest bet this weekend.
“Indoor activities are absolutely a wonderful idea for this weekend,” said Stiehm.
So while we’re all trying to soak in the waning weeks of summer, this one may have to be enjoyed in the great indoors.
People with vascular disease are also particularly at risk when the air quality is this bad. Experts recommend closing your windows and making sure the air filters in your home are clean and up to date.
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