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DEQ: air quality is at "code red" in Helena - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

DEQ: air quality is at "code red" in Helena

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Montana DEQ Air Quality Map on Saturday, September 9, 2017 Montana DEQ Air Quality Map on Saturday, September 9, 2017

The air quality in Helena on Saturday is listed as "code red" by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, which means "unhealthy." 

That means that "active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid prolonged outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion."

Air quality in Lewistown, Great Falls, Cut Bank, Lincoln, Missoula, Hamilton and Butte is also listed as "code red."

Air quality in the Kalispell and Flathead Valley region is currently listed as "code purple," which means "very unhealthy." The DEQ says that "active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should avoid all outdoor exertion; everyone else, especially children, should limit outdoor exertion."

The Seeley Lake region air quality is currently listed as "hazardous," which means "all children and adults should avoid or limit all outdoor exertion."

The DEQ says of areas affected by hazardous air quality: "Everyone should avoid all physical activity outdoors; people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people of lower SES (socio-economic status) should remain indoors and keep activity levels low."

The air quality ratings are determined by the amount of "particulate matter" (PM) in the air. The DEQ says that PM is the term for "a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles, such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke, are large or dark enough to be seen with the naked eye."

The primary factor in air quality across the state is the continuing wildfires; click here for the latest FireWatch information.

Physician Assistant Jason Kjono of Benefis Health System says people should reduce their exposure to the poor air quality as much as they can.

People can do this by staying inside, not working out too strenuously, and being in an air-conditioned area can help as well. If you have to work outside make sure you are wearing a mask, drink lots of fluids, and take a break in an area that has better air quality. 

For more information about air quality readings in Montana and the health effects, click here to visit the DEQ website.

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