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Wood Smoke and Indoor Air Quality: 5 tips to keep your family and neighbors healthy this winter

Last updated: 12-01-2020

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Wood Smoke and Indoor Air Quality: 5 tips to keep your family and neighbors healthy this winter

Burning wood this winter? Check out these 5 tips to keep your family and neighbors healthy. Smoke may smell good, but it's not good for you. Wood smoke consists of tiny particles that can get into your eyes and lungs, where they may cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses (such as bronchitis). Tiny smoke particles can irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, and affect your immune system. Particles found in wood smoke can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger asthma attacks. Wood smoke can also make you more prone to lung infections, likely including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19. According to the CDC, people who currently have or who are recovering from COVID-19 may be at an increased risk of health effects from exposure to wood smoke due to compromised heart and/or lung function related to COVID-19. Learn more at https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/wood-smoke-and-covid-19 Remember, wood smoke doesn’t stay in one place. Tiny smoke particles can travel far and enter your neighbor’s home through open windows, vents, and tiny cracks (like those around door and window frames). As a result, smoke from your fire can affect your neighbor’s health too. What You Can Do about Wood Smoke Whether you heat your home with wood or enjoy an occasional fire, you can keep the air inside your home and your neighbor’s home healthier with these best wood-burning practices and tips: Save money and time. Burn only dry, seasoned wood and maintain a hot fire. Have a certified technician inspect and service your appliance Keep your home healthy by upgrading to a more efficient, cleaner burning appliance (e.g., gas, air source heat pump or EPA-approved wood-burning wood stove). Use a portable air cleaner in the room(s) where you spend the most time. Make sure to choose an air cleaner that’s the right size and does not generate ozone. Observe your local laws and burn bans. Check with your state or local air quality office or fire department to find out what rules apply in your area.

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