West Coasters Have Advice on Dealing with Bad Air Quality

As the East Coast faces alarmingly bad air quality, survival tips are being shared on social media.

It looks like a nightmare outside. The air is, quite literally, unbreathable in New York City according to AirNow.gov. As of 4 pm, the Air Quality Index (AQI) read 394 in Northern Manhattan. For reference, anything between 200 and 300 is considered "very unhealthy" by the EPA, while levels north of 300 are considered "hazardous."

And while "hazardous" might sound like a hyperbole, it's not. Vox reports that the health impacts from long-term exposure to air like this can cause serious health issues. NBC News lists severe asthma, preterm birth, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and dementia as chronic conditions tied to long-term exposure.

There's also more immediate health concerns, as the EPA details. Short-term exposure, (a period of a few days) can result in the following health conditions: Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, respiratory symptoms (coughing, phlegm, wheezing, difficulty breathing), bronchitis, reduced lung function, increased risk of asthma exacerbation and aggravation of other lung diseases, increased risk of emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and cardiovascular effects including heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.

Fortunately amid the annoying keyboard warriors who saw fit to remark on how New Yorkers were "overreacting" to the arrival of this massive environmental public health risk, more compassionate people were sharing essential advice on how to navigate these atrocious circumstances. The sad reality is that, for some people, horrible air quality caused by wildfires (and pollution, and waste incinerators) is nothing new. A lot of people made sure to share the advice that got them through previous weather events like this, including some of the infamous West Coast wildfires.

Here's what they have to say:

If you're looking for more in-depth advice, the Los Angeles Times has a comprehensive guide to protecting yourself from wildlife smoke. You can also find safety advice, guidelines, and other essential information on AirNow.gov. The City, a local NYC publication, also has advice on staying safe specific to the East Coast.

So, stay inside, and if you have to go outside, try to make sure you are wearing a high-quality face mask.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.