Bay Area gearing up for a smog-filled summer -- and your mask won't protect you

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- If you think the sky has been looking a little hazy recently, you're right. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District declared a Spare the Air Day Monday because of unhealthy smog, and they expect to be doing that much more often in the months to come.

The number of Spare the Air alerts issued has doubled every year since 2018, and experts expect this year could be even worse.

In 2020, there were 52 Spare the Air alerts. There were 26 the year before. There were fewer cars on the road for much of the year, due to stay-at-home orders. However, late summer wildfires spewed smoke into the air for weeks, causing orange skies and dangerous breathing conditions.

RELATED: New study warns of racial disparity in Bay Area air pollution's impact on childhood asthma

During a Spare the Air Alert, people are advised to stay indoors, especially elderly people and those with respiratory illnesses. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District says if you have to go outside on one of these days, only an N95 mask will protect you from wildfire smoke.

Unfortunately, no mask will protect you from the smog, which is produced by harmful car emissions.

The Air District also recommends buying a HEPA air filter for your home.

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