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Is Going Outside in Smoke Worth it?

By: Andy Chen

As you stand up after a tough day of online school, you realize that you’re sweating from head to toe. It’s stuffy and hot, so you prepare to go outside — but as soon as you open the door, you’re greeted with a blast of hot air and smoke.

Many students in California wrestle with this frustrating dilemma — is it worthwhile to go outside, even with the potentially dangerous wildfire smoke? Without going outside, your already limited exercise options are further restricted and you can’t hang out with friends in-person (with 6-feet of social distancing in place, of course). But by staying indoors, you maximize your safety, which is especially important to maintain during these trying times.

By going outside daily, you gain a variety of benefits including reduced stress, improved concentration, and improved mental health, says Business Insider. Additionally, you’re able to take in vitamin-D from the sun — since this necessary vitamin isn’t found naturally in many foods, spending time out in the sun is usually a good idea to maximize vitamin-D.

However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the fine particles from smoke can cause a diverse range of health problems for anyone, ranging from a runny nose and burning eyes to more severe issues, like lung cancer and chronic heart disease. While younger children and the elderly are more susceptible, everyone is at risk for these diseases, making it simply not worth it to go outside for prolonged periods during these smoky conditions.

If you must go outside during wildfire season, try to wear a mask with a respiratory filter, like an N-95. In these trying times, it’s imperative to stay as safe as possible; anything could happen.

About Andy Chen

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