Poor air quality alert: Are you safe? | KAALTV.com

Poor air quality alert: Are you safe?

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: July 29, 2021 10:29 PM
Created: July 29, 2021 10:20 PM

(ABC 6 News) - An air quality alert is in effect for almost the whole state of Minnesota through Friday.

Health experts are saying inhaling the smoke from the Canadian fire can be potentially dangerous.

"It's definitely a little concerning but I'd say it's more just weird than anything. It's not something you see every day," Alexis Deyo said on her way to work in Rochester on Thursday afternoon.

The hazy sky due to the poor air quality is catching people off guard.

"I was kind of wondering what was going on," Deyo said.

RELATED: Air quality alert updated due to increased wildfire smoke levels

Rochester is in a moderate area but there are areas around Olmsted County that are in the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' category and even going into the red, which is unhealthy for really everyone.

"But there are certain groups of people that are at a higher risk than others and those are namely those with underlying health conditions like underlying lung disease, especially obstructive lung diseases. So things like COPD, particularly chronic bronchitis or emphysema," Dr. Mark Norton, a physician at Mayo Clinic Health Systems, said.

Also, those who have asthma and underlying cardiovascular diseases like heart failure might be at risk of flares of their underlying diseases.

"People need to be aware of where they're at and take some steps to reduce exposure to that smoke or that air and moderate their activities," Mike Melius, Associate Director of Public Health for Olmsted County, said.

People can stay safe by staying indoors and limiting physical activity outside or staying outside for prolonged periods of time.

"If you're in an area right now that is at a higher level you really need to take action to reduce your exposure to that outdoor air," Melius said.

You can check out a real-time air quality map of Rochester here and for other areas in Minnesota here.

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