How to monitor air quality and breathe easier

Consumer Reports tests air purifiers

SAN ANTONIO – Smoky fires, Saharan dust, traffic exhaust and more can affect the air we breathe, so it can be helpful to monitor air quality.

“Microscopic particles in smoke are linked to asthma, coughing, difficulty breathing, even non-fatal heart attacks,” said Consumer Reports’ Kaveh Waddell.

People in the northeastern region of the U.S. are coping with the serious effects of the Canadian wildfires.

In San Antonio, we are seeing some slightly hazy skies caused by summertime Saharan dust. It can bring in pretty sunsets but also can be irritating to people with sensitive respiratory systems.

Air quality alerts

To stay on top of air quality, you can sign up for alerts from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality here. Even easier, you can sign up for the KSAT Weather App.

You can also get current and forecasted air quality reports from the EPA’s AirNow website and app. The reading was moderate on Tuesday, indicating that sensitive people may want to limit outdoor activities.

Other apps — including IQAir, PlumeLabs and PurpleAir — monitor air quality, too.

Ways to help your breathing

When pollution levels are high, experts say it’s best to stay inside and keep outdoor air out of the home. Weatherstripping around doors and windows can help.

An air purifier can also improve the quality of the air.

“Look for an air purifier with a HEPA filter to get smoke out of your home. A carbon filter will help to get the smell of smoke out, too,” Waddell said.

Consumer Reports tested air purifiers by injecting smoke particles into a sealed room.

Top performers in those smoke tests were the Alen Breathesmart 75i Pure for about $750 and the BlueAir Blue Pure 211 + Max for about $350.

On a bothersome day, you can also reach for an N95 facemask, the same kind used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Find more Consumer Reports stories on here

About the Author

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

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