New York City looked like a post-apocalyptic hellscape in sepia on Tuesday and Wednesday.
An air quality crisis has hit New York City like never before, thanks to wildfire smoke that has floated all the way from Ontario and Quebec. Residents of the area watched in stunned horror as Manhattan’s iconic skyline disappeared into an orange haze. We’ve seen Air Quality Alerts turn maroon, which is the highest. I realized this is how it must be on the West Coast.
Most outdoor events have been cancelled. Teachers were asked to stay at home, while the students observed an already scheduled holiday. People who ventured outside wore masks, as in the early days of the pandemic. Kate Kozuch of TG wore Dyson Zone air purifying headphones.
Many, like me, have managed to stay in their homes. And I was even luckier, because I actually invested in an air purifier for allergy relief earlier this year.
The air quality crisis has renewed everyone’s interest in buying the best air purifiers to keep indoor air clean. According to Google Trends, searches for “air purifier” increased by more than 450% during the worst of the air world. Fox News I reported that New York City stores were sold out of air purifiers.
I was already a big fan of my air purifier, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH, for its dramatic allergy reduction. It has proven its worth during the air quality crisis.
Wildfire smoke is very bad for your health
On Wednesday, New York City had its worst-ever air quality index (AQI) at 352, which is considered “hazardous.”
The color coding at this level is maroon, but believe me, no one was dancing without shoes and looking at the sky – which was actually orange (h/t Taylor Swift). Coming out, I could smell the distinct smell of burning materials, as if I had been making a campfire non-stop for half a day.
Smoke pollution is considered to be “fine particles,” or microscopic particles smaller than 2.5 microns. This is smaller than dust. It is too small to filter with a surgical mask.
the The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) has advised Exposure to PM 2.5 can “cause short-term health effects such as irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and shortness of breath. Exposure to elevated levels of fine particulate matter can also exacerbate medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.”
Experts have advised everyone to stay home if they can, but especially children, the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, allergies or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
But smoke can easily make its way inside. Since Americans spend, on average, about 90 percent of their time indoors, indoor air quality has a significant impact on our health.
This is where air purifiers can help.
My air purifier went on red alert
As I mentioned, I purchased the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH earlier this year. I liked its compact, lightweight, and unobtrusive design; washable external pre-filter; Carbon filter to remove odors and HEPA filter to trap fine particles. was so For sale on Amazon.
Keep the air purifier in Eco mode, which automates fan speed according to the level of air quality. Prior to this week, I’d seen it turn red (high fan speed) twice — once after I’d burnt a steak and once while repainting my bathroom.
On Tuesday evening, when the smog was starting to lift, I noticed my air purifier went into purple mode (medium fan speed) more frequently.
On Wednesday, I opened my front door to retrieve a package (a tip to the poor delivery drivers) for about 30 seconds. And my air purifier went red.
Stayed on the hike for half an hour (even longer than a steak accident). And throughout the afternoon and evening, when New York City turned into a landscape of sand dunes, the air purifier was running in near purple or red modes.
Thank God, because friends who went outside (even with masks on) reported symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, and headaches. Other friends who stayed inside but didn’t have an air purifier said they still smelled smoke. I? I didn’t get a whiff or a tickle in my nose.
While the East Coast in general, and New York City in particular, have been spared the constant smoke of wildfires, that could change in the near future. We may have another air quality crisis like this one. This is why I recommend getting an air purifier. When the next airpocalypse comes around, you’ll be breathing easy.