Air Quality Alert issued for Southeast Michigan on Monday - What to know

Southeast Michigan remains under an Air Quality Alert on Monday that was issued for the area over the weekend.

This alert includes all of Southeast Michigan and into the Thumb region. 

Wildfire smoke from Canada is increasing fine particulate in the air, making for unhealthy conditions outside. According to the National Weather Service, levels are expected to be in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range. Some hourly concentrations could hit the Unhealthy range.

Monitor air quality levels here.

The Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups level means members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is less likely to be affected.

Under the Unhealthy range, some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

MORE: Here's what the AQI colors mean

Limiting time outdoors is recommended to reduce your risk of negative health effects, especially if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition.

People with heart and respiratory problems, those older than 65, and children should stay inside because they are more susceptible to experiencing negative effects, which could be dangerous.

Related: New app JustAir tracks air quality, sends updates with health advice

Air quality health tips:

During unhealthy for sensitive groups (AQI orange) to unhealthy for everyone air quality events (AQI red), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) advises the following:

For people with heart or lung disease, pregnant people, older adults aged 65+, children, and teens it is suggested to take the following steps to reduce exposure:

  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Keep outdoor activities short.
  • Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.

For everyone else:

  • Choose less strenuous activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard. ‘
  • Shorten the amount of time you are active outdoors.
  • Be active outdoors when air quality is better.

During very unhealthy or hazardous for everyone air quality (purple to maroon Air Quality Index levels), MDHHS advises the following for everyone:

  • Stay indoors with the doors and windows closed using MERV-13 or better air filtration.
  • Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have an air conditioner, and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed. Call or text 211 or contact your local health department to find out if there is a shelter or cooling center nearby.
  • Use air filters to improve indoor air quality. Whether you have a central air conditioning system or a portable room unit, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from smoke. If you don’t have access to those filter systems, you can create a temporary air purifier with a 2012 or newer box fan and attaching a MERV-13 or higher air filter to it. Information is available online.
  • Keep activity levels low.
  • Avoid outdoor activities.
  • Use N95 style masks if you have to be outside.Surgical and cloth masks are not recommended as they are not designed to prevent breathing in the fine particulate matter in wildfire smoke.