How this week’s orange moon could be bad for your health

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The orange moon that you see in the sky each night is definitely an amazing sight to behold, caused by airborne particulates caused by the fires raging in Oregon and California. For many, that orange moon comes with potential health problems.

Related: Have you seen the orange moon this week? Here’s what’s happening

Along the east coast and Mid-Atlantic, especially in New Jersey and parks of New York, that smoke is causing airquality problems that could negatively impact asthmatics and others with pulminary health issues such as COPD.

Below is a map of air quality levels for Wednesday, July 21st. The EPA this week is reporting the air quality index for most of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Long Island as “unhealthy” as seen in orange.


“While not everyone has the same sensitivity to wildfire smoke, it’s still a good idea to avoid breathing smoke if you can help it. And when smoke is heavy, such as can occur in close proximity to a wildfire, it’s bad for everyone,” the EPA wanrs. “Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles. These microscopic particles can penetrate deep into your lungs. They can cause a range of health problems, from burning eyes and a runny nose to aggravated chronic heart and lung diseases. Exposure to particle pollution is even linked to premature death.”

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Here’s who is at risk of complications caused by the higher particulates in the air this week caused by the Oregon fire.

It’s especially important for you to pay attention to local air quality reports during a fire if you are

  • a person with heart or lung disease, such as heart failure, angina, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma.
  • an older adult, which makes you more likely to have heart or lung disease than younger people.
  • caring for children, including teenagers, because their respiratory systems are still developing, they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults, they’re more likely to be active outdoors, and they’re more likely to have asthma.
  • a person with diabetes, because you are more likely to have underlying cardiovascular disease.
  • a pregnant woman, because there could be potential health effects for both you and the developing fetus.
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