When wildfire season is in full swing and the air is thick with smoke, it’s important to limit your time outdoors and stay inside as much as possible. However, staying indoors can be tough on both physical and mental health. Here are some tips to stay healthy when you’re stuck inside during the height of wildfire season.
Take Measures to Improve Indoor Air
The most important thing you can do is to take measures to improve the air quality inside your home. Invest in an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help clean smoke particles out of the air. As much as you can, avoid using ovens and vacuums because these can both contribute to poor indoor air quality.
Stay Active–but Keep it Low Impact
When the air quality is poor due to wildfire smoke, you should avoid outdoor activities and you don’t want to do very strenuous exercise at all, even indoors. However, your body also won’t feel good if you just sit on your couch for days on end. Instead, opt for gentle, low-impact activity that you can do inside your home. Yin yoga is a great option and there are tons of free guided practices on the internet. You can also do gentle stretches, or try qigong or tai chi.
Stimulate Your Brain
Make sure you are keeping your brain active and stimulated, even though you are staying home. Try reading a novel, doing sudoku or crosswords, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, or learning vocabulary in another language. If you live alone, prioritize getting some social connection while at home by calling friends or family members.
Leave Your Home - but Go Somewhere Safe
If you feel too cooped up at home, go to an indoor public space with a good air filtration system, such as a community centre or library. Community centres are also a good place to get some low-impact indoor exercise, just remember not to push yourself and keep it very gentle.
Drink Extra Water
Staying hydrated is especially important with smoke particles in the air, and your body has to work harder when breathing poor quality air, so it needs more water than usual. Sip plenty of water throughout the day and make sure to refill your pets’ water often as well.
Don’t Forget Your Pets!
If you have a cat, dog, or other pet that’s used to being able to go outside but is having to stay indoors because of the smoke, they are probably feeling some discomfort too. Make sure that you give your pets plenty of attention, play with them indoors, and cuddle them. This will help you both feel happier about being stuck inside.
With fire seasons becoming more severe every year, it's essential to learn how to stay at our healthiest when the air is smoky. Prioritizing wildfire preparedness is also important because these measures can significantly reduce the amount of wildfires that become out of control. SPIEDR is proud to offer wildland firefighter training, equipment, and consultation services.