LOS ANGELES -- If you've been outside in Southern California in the last couple days, you'll undoubtedly have experienced the smoke and haze, a result of the fires burning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Air quality can actually have serious effects on your health. If you live in Los Angeles County, you should keep track of the air quality by visiting this page on the city's website or following @LAPublicHealth on Twitter.
When the Air Quality Index is above 150, authorities recommend that everyone, even healthy adults and people not usually sensitive to smoke, should take precautions by reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
But people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children and teenagers should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion when the Air Quality Index is above just 100.
And for those interested in buying a mask to help mitigate the effects of the smoke: the California Department of Public Health advises that most regular masks, including surgical masks and dust masks, don't actually prevent inhalation of small particles or gases in smoke.
But some types of masks do filter up to 95 percent of small smoke particles and are marked with one of the following: "P95," "R95" or "N95." Other masks with higher ratings -- marked "P100," "R100" or "N100" -- can filter out even more particles, according to the California Department of Public Health.
But without a good seal around the wearer's mouth and nose, these masks won't be effective. Find more information about masks here.