By: Alyssa Kelly, ND
Seattle is in the midst of a smoke wave. A severe one, at that. Climate Central describes a smoke wave as two consecutive days with an EPA Air Quality Index of 67. Seattle’s AQI today is 185.
At AQI level 67, the particles in the air, called PM2.5, reach a concentration that can start causing adverse health effects. Some of these effects include “slowing blood flow and oxygen to the heart, developing plaque on the inner walls of arteries, and interfering with liver functions” (Climate Central). These are relatively invisible yet serious effects. One symptom of these effects can be feeling more fatigued than usual or lowered exercise tolerance. People are certainly experiencing other ill effects from the particles as well, such as cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headaches, and more. People who already have lung or heart diseases such as asthma, emphysema, COPD, angina, and ischemic heart disease are at risk of worsening of their disease due to the particles and their effects on blood and oxygen flow.