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The Canadian wildfires continue to rage, affecting several states in the Northeast and Midwest. Wildfire smoke and smog have carried down to several East Coast states, going even as far south as Atlanta. While the wind will likely take the unhealthy air out west in the coming days, many are experiencing watery eyes, exacerbated asthma symptoms and other discomfort.
With the drastic decrease in air quality, many are wondering if it’s safe to go outside. We’re here to answer your questions and provide you with ideas of how to spend your time if you have to bunker down at home this weekend, or whenever smoke strikes again during wildfire season.
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Is it safe to go outside right now?
The answer is a frustrating “it depends.” By and large, many areas that have been affected by the wildfire smoke in the past week are still suffering from poor air quality. The extent to which air quality is impacted depends on the area. If your city has an air quality Index (AQI) number of 150 or above, it’s recommended that you limit your time outdoors as much as possible. There are many sites that will tell you the air quality of a given area.
Symptoms of poor air quality
Air pollution can cause headaches, eye and sinus irritation, fatigue, difficulty breathing, irritated throats, chest pains, asthma attacks and increased coughing. In the long term, poor air quality can either lead to or exacerbate respiratory conditions such as asthma.
During times of poor air quality, outdoor rigorous physical activity can be particularly taxing on your body. If you practice cardio, and you have the space, make use of indoor exercise machines such as a treadmill or an exercise bike. Our value pick for treadmills is the Sole F63, which features a wide range of speeds and inclines, plus itremains sturdy even at high speeds. The MYX II is our value pick for exercise bikes thanks to its high-quality build and wide variety of class options. If you’re looking to work on your arms, we recommend a quality pair of dumbbells, such Amazon Basic’s Neoprene Workout Dumbbells. With over 69,000 five-star reviews, buyers love these weights for their durability, color and variety of weights.
Upgrade your meals at home
With food delivery services, you can bring delicious meals to your door instead of having to brave the smog to eat out. One such service is Grubhub. With it, you can order your favorite chow from various restaurants nearby. Whether you order from a restaurant or make your own meal, you can top it off with a drink from alcohol delivery service Drizly.
If you're looking to cook, you'll want some of our favorite kitchen appliances. An air fryer provides a way to make crispy, tasty meals without the calorie-dense oils. Our favorite is easily the Ninja Speedi Rapid Cooker & Air Fryer thanks to its quick cook times, intuitive controls and large capacity. If you're looking for a less labor-intensive meal, you should buy a slow cooker like the best slow cooker we've tested, the Cuisinart 6-Quart 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker. We love it because it's easy to clean, keeps food warm and the handles stay cool to the touch. If you're looking to try your hand at baking, pick up a hand mixer and baking sheet and you’ll be good to go. The Cuisinart Power Advantage Plus is our favorite hand mixer thanks to its helpful manual and intuitive controls. Once you’re done mixing, you can put your creation in the oven on our favorite baking sheet, the Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet. It’s large, lightweight, versatile and it distributes heat evenly.
Entertainment for the whole family
There are tons of ways to keep everyone at home entertained while hunkering down for the next few days. Instead of going to the movie theater to watch one film, you watch countless movies and shows on a streaming service like Disney+. All you need is a subscription and a handy dandy streaming device.
Similarly, instead of heading out to the library to check out a book, you can read all the books you want on an e-reader, such as our favorite, the eleventh-generation Amazon Kindle.
If playing video games are more your speed, you can pick up a Nintendo Switch, home to many amazing games such as the newly released, critically acclaimed, ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.’
To spend some time with everyone in your home, we recommend playing a card or board game, such as the ever-entertaining Uno.
Another great way to spend time with the family and have fun while doing it is working on an art project together. You can flex your creative bone in a variety of ways such as putting together your own LEGO masterpiece. You can also create your own beautiful painting. One of our favorite ways to do this is by using a paint-by-the-numbers kit such as the Texture of Dreams Personalized Paint by Numbers Kit.
Be productive for the week ahead
With the extra time inside, you'll be able to finish those tasks you've been putting off. For one, you don't have much of an excuse not to clean the house, so pick up that mop and vacuum so that you won't have to later. There are many mops to choose from, but the best we've tested is the versatile, lightweight Rubbermaid Reveal Microfiber Spray Mop thanks to its washable pads and scrubber that tackles tough stains. Meanwhile, the best affordable, upright vacuum cleaner is the Shark NV352 Navigator Lift-Away. You can change it into a canister vacuum to get in hard-to-reach spots.
It’s also a great time to prepare yourself for the week ahead. Plan a grocery delivery using a service like Instacart. You’ll have groceries deliveries right to your door so you won’t have to go out later and you can get started on any meal prepping that’ll help you in the coming week.
Another way to be productive is to plan out your upcoming week with a quality planner such as KAICN's weekly planner, which has over 2,600 five-star reviews on Amazon thanks to its level of detail and organization.
Sit back and relax
While the eerie haze outside may bring down your mood and prevent you from doing some desired outdoor activities, we know just how to cheer you up. You deserve some quality. You can take your mind off of the wildfires outside by focusing on your inner peace through meditation and yoga. If you're in need of a new mat, we recommend the Gaiam Premium Yoga Mat, our value pick for the best yoga mat, thanks to its grippy texture and the variety of designs it comes in.
You can also relax by taking a relaxing bath with our favorite bath bombs. LifeAround2Angels Bath Bombs smell great and moisturize your skin without staining your bathtub. You’ll feel like you’re in a spa. And while you’re at it, you can relax even more by playing your favorite tunes through a speaker, such as our favorite smart speaker, the Bose Home Speaker 300 which features physical buttons, Bluetooth capability and integration with both Alexa and Google Home. Top off your self-care routine by painting your nails. One of the most-rated nail polish sets on Amazon is Modelones' Gel Nail Polish Set. Buyers rave about this set thanks to its durability and easy application.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Indoor activities to keep you busy this weekend amid Canada wildfires