Outdoor workers can't avoid smoke, unhealthy air

The air quality in the Pacific Northwest is some of the worst in the world right now.

While some people have the option of working indoors, others are forced outside, wondering, what breathing the wildfire smoke streaming in from Oregon and California is doing to their longterm health.

For barista Emma Lux, with every customer at her coffee stand in Kirkland's Juanita neighborhood, comes an open window and another reason to worry.

“I’m so over it," Lux said. "It’s just one thing after the other. Can this please just go away?”

It’s a bummer, that for this barista has been brewing since last week when the smokey air scrapped her birthday party. She just turned 21. 

“My mom was expecting to have the doors open with social distancing. People in the backyard," Lux said. "But we couldn’t go outside.”

We just can’t win right now.

Being indoors with others puts you at risk of COVID-19. While breathing the air outdoors, experts say, could be hazardous to your health. 

Still, some, like construction flagger Connie Watson is willing to risk it, adding, she needs to work.

“I’m out here working because I need the hours. I’d rather be working than sitting at home," Watson said. 

A check of the air quality on the Eastside today shows it still considered "Very Unhealthy."

To check the air quality in your city or town, click here: Check air quality

Many locations in Western Washington are still in the highest alert level, "Hazardous." 

It’s not surprising we’re all coughing. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, wildfire smoke can also hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and make chronic heart and lung disease worse. 

It leaves those working out in these conditions feeling exhausted. 

“It’s one thing after the other right now," Lux said. “I hope it gets better soon.” 

As all of us look for some light at the end of this smokey tunnel.