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What You Need to Know About Air Quality

Making healthy choices can seem like a never-ending adventure. But after a while, it can become second nature. Meals are balanced with the right amount of protein and veggies. You are conscious of what you eat and drink— and, even if it’s not the healthiest choice, you make the adjustment to get back on track.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what you might be breathing? It’s a good question!

Air quality consists of many factors, including dust, pollen and smoke from wildfires. Of course, other factors like vehicle and manufacturing emissions also greatly contribute to air quality.

Poor air quality can have negative impacts on your health—including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, chronic diseases and cancer. Air quality can fluctuate depending on the season, air flow or other factors, like pollution. It is measured using the Air Quality Index (AQI), established by the EPA.



Before you head outside, it’s important to know the air quality. Most weather apps or websites, including the National Weather Service provide AQI ratings. It scores air quality from 0 all the way up to 500. High scores correlate with poorer air quality.

  • If you see an AQI value of 50 or below, it means you have good air quality.
  • Generally, AQI values of 100 or below are satisfactory.
  • AQI values over 100 means the air quality is unhealthy. Vulnerable groups of people, like those with chronic conditions, such as asthma or emphysema, will feel it first. Then everyone will begin to feel it as AQI values increase.
  • AQI values over 300 means the air quality is considered hazardous.


Before you go outside

The first step is to check your AQI. When the AQI rating is around 100 or above, try to stay inside. Be sure to change your home’s air filter. This should be done every 30-60 days, depending on the type of filter.

You may also have to consider the amount of pollen, dust or other allergens in the air. Pollen count and allergy forecasts are also provided by weather apps and websites.


Open air

When the air quality is good, you are free to move about outdoors! Go for a hike, ride a bike or simply relax outside and feel the air fill your lungs. And now that you understand AQI, take a look at why fresh air is good for you.


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Published on: July 07, 2023