How to protect your lungs from smoke and ash

Posted at 4:37 AM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 14:18:53-04

Smoke and ash are covering parts of Pasco County. Even the school district canceling classes Monday and pushing back the start of classes by nearly 3 hours on Tuesday. "Some people are having respiratory problems," said Ian, a student at River Ridge Middle school.

Bill Gorman, who lives near the middle school says his dog refuses to leave the house in the morning these days.

"He didn't want to go for a walk and that is really really unusual for him," said Gorman.
Pasco County officials say the smoke could stick around for the next 30 days which means it's best to stay inside, close your windows and doors and crank up the AC.
"I haven't seen people walking like they usually do. I've seen a few but, nothing early in the morning," said Gorman, who believes neighbors are heeding the warnings.
But if you do have to go outside - a good way to keep safe is to get a mask that covers your nose and mouth. But be careful, a "dust" mask will NOT protect you from fine particles found in wildfire smoke. Make sure to grab one that says N-95, or P-100 on the packaging and make sure they are fitted well on your head. You can get a two-pack from a local hardware store for about $7.00.
And if you have to drive through a smoky area, make sure your windows are up and AC is on. You also need to make sure the recirculating air button is on otherwise your AC could suck in smoke and ash. 
If you'd like more helpful tips, check out AirNow.