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‘Like smoking nearly 2 cigarettes’: Denver has the 4th worst air quality in the world

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DENVER (KDVR) — Itchy eyes? Scratchy throat? Runny nose? It’s not a surprise! As of Friday morning, Denver has the fourth worst air quality in the world.

Meteorologist Chris Tomer said the air quality is so poor that it’s like smoking 1.5 cigarettes, as smoke from wildfires burning across the western region continues to bring unhealthy air to Denver and the Front Range.

Thursday marked more than a month straight of air quality alerts for the Denver metro.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips from the American Lung Association:

  • Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. When the air is bad, walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym or use an exercise machine. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
  • Always avoid exercising near high-traffic areas. Even when air quality forecasts are green, the vehicles on busy highways can create high pollution levels up to one-third a mile away.
  • Use less energy in your home. Generating electricity and other sources of energy creates air pollution. By reducing energy use, you can help improve air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions, encourage energy independence and save money! Check out the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s easy tips for conserving energy at home.
  • Walk, bike or carpool. Combine trips. Use buses, subways, light rail systems, commuter trains or other alternatives to driving your car.
  • Don’t burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution (soot) in many parts of the country.
  • Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Old two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and leaf or snow blowers often have no pollution control devices. They can pollute the air even more than cars, though engines sold since 2011 are cleaner.
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke indoors and support measures to make all public places tobacco-free.

If you are struggling to breathe, reach out to your doctor if it’s not an emergency situation. If it is emergent, call 911.

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