As smoke from wildfires from Canada continued to drift across the United States, creating unhealthy air quality, many places across the country were on air quality alerts Thursday.
Heeding these warnings is important to staying safe, but monitoring your air quality levels can also help you decide when it’s safe to go outside. (Air quality levels can vary throughout the day, depending on the time of day and the amount of smoke in an area.)
These apps can help you monitor your air quality levels.
AirNow mobile application
THE AirNow mobile applicationavailable on iPhones and Android phones, it was created by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees air quality across the country.
The app allows users to enter their postcode or city to get the most up-to-date information on air quality levels. The app also has a fire and smoke map that allows users to see where the thickest layers of smoke have moved.
IQAir AirVisual | Air quality application
THE IQAir AirVisual | Air quality applicationAlso available for iPhone or Android users, it provides the latest levels of air quality, as well as useful context on how poor the air quality is in a given region.
IQAir has a real-time ranking that shows which cities have the worst levels of air pollution. At times this week, New York City has had some of the worst air quality in the world.
The IQAir app also shares health tips. When air quality reaches unhealthy levels, for example, IQAir recommends wearing a mask outdoors, using an air purifier at home, closing windows, and avoiding outdoor exercise.
For those looking for detailed information, the Plume Labs app shares comprehensive maps with pollution hot spots. The app also has an hourly forecast of air quality as levels often change throughout the day.
The app, available for iPhones and Android phones, can also send alerts when air quality levels deteriorate.
THE AirCare the app shares air quality information along with helpful insights. When the air quality is healthy, the app says, « You can breathe freely. »
The app includes a tracker that monitors allergens such as tree, grass, and ragweed pollen. The app also tracks the UV index and provides recommendations such as « avoid the sun around midday, seek shade and use sunscreen, » when the sun’s UV radiation is high.
Other useful places for information on air quality
Several weather apps, such as those made by Apple, The Weather Channel, and AccuWeather, all provide air quality levels, as well as weather forecasts.
THE National Weather Service also provides air quality details online, along with resources on air quality safety.