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What is AQI? Use this helpful resource to breathe easier

| Healthy You | Resources | Safety

White man in a park wearing a green hoodie removes his medical mask to breathe clean air.

This measure of air quality can help you protect your family from pollution.

Have you heard of AQI? It stands for Air Quality Index and it measures how much pollution is in the air around you. 

The index tells you if the air you’re breathing is good, okay, unhealthy or very unhealthy. A higher number means worse air quality. A lower number means better air quality.

High AQI is usually a temporary situation. In some places it can be common due to smog and manufacturing. In other places, high AQI can be rare or seasonal. For example, during wildfire season, even a fire that’s burning from a distance can blow smoke in your direction and send your local AQI into the "unhealthy" zone.

How can you find out your local AQI today? It’s easy to track this important number.

Here are three places to start:

  • Look it up on the website
  • Check your smartphone’s weather app.
  • Check local newspaper, radio and TV news reports.

If your AQI enters the “unhealthy” zone, you can take steps to limit your exposure to polluted air

If you have a heart or lung condition, or if you’re worried about the health risks from breathing polluted air, talk to your healthcare provider. They can recommend ways to manage your condition and your environment so that you can breathe easier.