How you can stay safe from unhealthy air

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The cool and crisp autumn air may seem inviting after a long day at the office, but you might want to think twice about a trek outdoors.

Fresno resident Jose Pulido cut his eight-mile workout in half.

"I stopped because I was getting a lot of allergies, it was getting harder to breathe," said Pulido.

Another resident, Andre Mejia, said he didn't think he'd need allergy medicine and tissues this time of year.

"It's kinda harder to breathe and you'll get a lot of congestion in your nose and the nose will run to your chest," Mejia said.

Experts say with Valley air teetering between RAAN levels 4 and 5 throughout the week, time outside is downright dangerous.

"Any time you have particles soot and ash they take place of the oxygen," said Dr. A.M. Aminian of the Allergy Institute.

Aminian said that "particulate matter" can trigger asthma attacks, and aggravate those with diabetes or chronic heart and lung diseases.

The long-term effects can mean serious respiratory or cardiac problems

"They cause also a chemical reaction that can aggravate our breathing and can cause inflammation in the lungs and nose," he said.

The concentration is highest in the early morning and late evening hours -- when it's coldest, so experts suggest not going outside unless you have to.

Already feeling the affects of your time outside? If you can't take a trip out of town, increasing your water intake is crucial to detoxifying from the smoke in the air.

"The more hydrated you are, the looser phlegm is in your lungs. So the phlegm can trap all the particles and come out," Aminian said.

Nasal rinses are beneficial when it comes to removing allergens in your passages, decreasing the likelihood of inflammation.

And before you get settled in and let your hair down, remember -- particles can stick to your clothing, your skin -- even your hair.

"If you don't take a shower as soon as you get home, your own hair in front of your nose is going to be your worst enemy," Aminian warned.

Another tip for while you're driving: Dr. Aminian said residents must make sure they have the recirculated air going so that they're limiting the particulate matter that gets into their car.
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