Air Quality Emergency: N95 Masks Urged as Wildfire Smoke Engulfs North America

Millions of people in North America are being urged to wear N95 masks outdoors due to hazardous air quality caused by widespread wildfires in Canada.

New York has announced the distribution of free masks, while Canada advises mask-wearing for those unable to stay indoors. The smoke-filled conditions are expected to persist, with Quebec experiencing its worst fire season on record.

The air quality in the northeast U.S. has been classified as “unhealthy,” prompting warnings for people with respiratory concerns. Public health officials advise minimizing exposure to the smoke, as it poses immediate and long-term health risks.

The warmer and drier spring conditions in Canada are believed to contribute to the severity of the wildfires. Wildfire smoke can lead to various health issues, from immediate effects like shortness of breath to long-term problems such as cancer or lung disease. Experts recommend limiting outdoor activities and wearing N95 masks in areas closer to the fires.

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