The Air Quality Index is a scale for reporting daily air quality by telling you how clean the air is. The AQI is divided into six categories:
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Protect yourself and your family when a health advisory has been issued
Orange level: Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
If a health advisory is issued for the orange level, we recommend people with heart or lung disease, asthma, or other sensitive groups (older adults and children) stay indoors and reschedule or cut back on strenuous outside activities.
See your doctor if you experience:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble breathing
- See your doctor if you experience chest pain,
Everyone with asthma should have a written plan for treating symptoms that is shared with caregivers (at schools, camps, childcare or other facilities). In addition, keep prescription rescue medications (such as an emergency inhaler for asthma) available.
Red Level or Higher: Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, or Hazardous
If a health advisory is issued for the red level, everyone should cut back or reschedule strenuous outside activities and people in sensitive groups should avoid any strenuous outside activity.
Follow guidance provided by your local health department and other health officials if a higher advisory is given, and follow these top 10 tips from the American Lung Association to protect yourself on unhealthy air pollution days.
Know if an air quality health advisory has been issued
- Sign up to receive air quality notices via email or text.
- Visit the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Air Quality Notices website to find out if any notices have been issued.
- Visit DNR's Interactive Air Quality Map that displays current AQIs for each county.
Ways to improve air quality
- Reduce driving when possible and don't leave vehicle engines idling.
- Choose lower emitting transportation options, like bus, car pool, biking or walking.
- Postpone activities that use small gasoline and diesel engines until evening hours, or use electric or rechargeable lawn and garden tools if possible.
- Wait until early evening to fill your vehicle's gas tank or charge your electric vehicle.
- Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature or turn it off and use a fan.
- Minimize the use of wood burning fireplaces, stoves, boilers and outdoor fires, including grilling outdoors (especially on fine particle pollution advisory days).