What does an Air Quality Index of 159 mean?

Nowadays we are exposed to an infinite number of pollutants.The exposure to such high levels of pollution have led to several health threats. In that case The Air Quality Index comes to rescue. It tells us about the quality of air of a particular place. 

So in this article we will discuss what does an Air Quality Index of 159 mean, which groups are more susceptible to such high levels of pollution, and what is the importance of AQI.  And finally how we can protect ourselves from the exposure to harmful pollutants. 

What does an Air Quality Index of 159 mean?

The AQI value of 159 indicates the unhealthy pollution levels in the ambient air. The values from 151-200 indicate that both healthy people and sensitive groups may begin to feel the effects of unhealthy AQI. The unhealthy values of 151-200 are represented by the Red color in the Air Quality Index. 

What does the Air Quality Index look like? 

Below is the table showing the Air Quality Index: 

Air Quality IndexLevels Color coding 
0-50  Good Green 
51-100 Moderateyellow
101-150 Unhealthy For  Sensitive Groups Orange 
151-200  UnhealthyRed
201-300  Very Unhealthy Purple
301-500  Hazardous Maroon

Who is at a higher risk?

With the air quality reaching unhealthy levels everyone must limit their exposure to the ambient air. Healthy people may start to feel the symptoms of bad AQI . Sensitive groups including; people with preexisting health conditions like: 

  •  Heart disease (hypertension, heart failure)
  • Lung disease 
  • Diabetics
  • Children,
  •  Elderly people (65 years and above) are at a higher risk of exposure. 

To avoid exposure, both healthy and sensitive groups should avoid outdoor exertion for a long time.

How can we protect ourselves from exposure to unhealthy AQI levels? 

Below are some of the measures you can adopt to protect yourself from unhealthy AQI level of 159

Schedule your exercise according to the AQI levels

You can exercise indoors especially if you live in urban areas. You can stay indoors; especially on low air quality days. If you suffer from asthma, diabetes or other health conditions, consult with your doctor about your exercise routine. 

If you want to go outside for physical activities the you may refer to the chart below: 

Air Quality IndexShort duration (15 mins )Duration for Prolonged exertion (1 hour)Duration for strenuous activities( 2-4+ hrs)Duration for scheduled activities like sports events 
151-200  UnhealthyShort duration physical activities can be done but watch for symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath Mild exercise can be done but watch for symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath Avoid doing strenuous exercises with frequent rest periods All the outdoor  activities should be reschedule or relocation is ideal in this situation 

Keep yourself updated with the air pollution levels

You can keep a check on the air quality index of your area to get insight about the pollution levels. There are certain websites designed for this purpose such as the Environmental Protection Agency. These sites can be accessed anytime of the day. You can also contact the local hospitals to get an insight. The local news and radio channels also notify you about the Air Quality Index of your area. 

Avoid going to high-pollution areas

Pollution levels are the highest near the roadways especially within 1/4 mile of a road. Highly congested urban areas and smoking areas should also be avoided. 



Don’t smoke cigarettes 

Smoking cigarettes can release  upto 7,000 chemicals out of which about 70 of them are carcinogenic. The tobacco smoke also affects the efficiency of your air filters. Some of the major chemicals include; benzene, acrolein, formaldehyde etc. These toxic chemicals have several health hazards including lung cancer. 


Try to use less energy at your home

Electricity generation creates air pollution. By reducing your energy usage you can actually help improve the air quality.


Do not burn wood or trash

Wood and trash burning contributes to particle pollution; particularly soot. Encourage your neighbours, friends and family members to do the same.  


Install Air Purifiers to keep your home safe

Air purifiers are devices which circulate the air through a set of filters and capture the contaminants like; microscopic particles such as dust, allergens, molds, spores, bacteria, etc, that are floating around. Hence purifies the air around you.

Some of the best air purifiers with HEPA are as follows: 

Shark HE601 Air Purifier 6 True HEPA With its high speed  six micro fan speed it offers an even distribution of airflow.  Its Clean Sense IQ monitors  air quality, auto-adjusts power and constantly maintains clean airflow. The filter has an efficiency of 99.98% against particle size upto 0.3 microns.  Highly efficient against dust, dander, allergens, smoke, and household odors like cooking, smoking, cleaning products etc.   Ideal for rooms having a dimension of 1,200 square feet. 
GermGuardian True HEPA Filter Air PurifierGerm guardian 5 in 1 air purifier is an electrostatic HEPA air filter and offers a removal efficiency of about 99.97% against particles as small as 0.3 microns.  Efficiently removes harmful germs like viruses, odor causing bacteria, mold spores, mildew, and other allergens like;  dust, pet hair, and other large particles. The efficient UV-C light kills airborne viruses such as influenza, staph and rhinovirus.  The filter also removes the VOC concentration with the help of titanium dioxide.  The activated charcoal filter is effective against cooking odor, tobacco smoke, fumes, pet odor etc.  Offers quiet operation; with the Ultra-quiet sleep mode it operates on low sound levels to get you a good night’s sleep.   GermGuardian Air Purifiers are ideal for medium to large rooms having an area of about 743 sq ft  
Instant Air PurifierInstant air purifiers are proven to kill 99.9% of covid-19 virus, bacteria, mold, and other harmful viruses.  With its Advanced 3-in-1filtration; HEPA-13, Activated Carbon, Antimicrobial coating and plasma ion technology it removes 99.97% of pollutants like tobacco smoke, pet dander, certain odors and other impurities.  Its advanced sensors offer a 24×7 air quality monitoring with auto fan speed adjust feature. It filters the air in an area of 126 sq ft 5x per hour  With its whisper quiet night mode it offers lower noise for a sound sleep. The filters last upto 8 month, after that it needs to be replaced. 
Westinghouse 1701 HEPA Air Purifier with Patented Medical Grade NCCO Technology Westinghouse air purifier uses the patented NCCO technology (Nano Confined Catalytic Oxidation) which kills the harmful pollutants by the action of active oxygen. The harmful pollutants are decomposed into harmless compounds such as carbon dioxide and water molecules The filter offers a removal efficiency of 99.97% against harmful viruses and bacteria and also removes 99.72% of particulate matter. This air purifier offers a four stage purification process; namely the Pre-filter, Oxygen Generator, True HEPA filter, and the NCCO Reactor. Westinghouse air purifier is a medical grade true HEPA filter with removal efficiency of 99.97 against allergens as small as 0.3 microns.  When the filter needs to be replaced the filter indicator provides an alert.  The purifier is suitable for large to medium rooms like bedroom, kitchen, office, etc having an area of about 300 sq ft.
Elechomes EPI081 Air Purifier Comes with a 4-in-1 purification system namely; The pre-filter, ATP-HEPA protective filter, activated carbon filter, and clean-room grade H13 true HEPA filter. Ideal  for bedrooms, living rooms, offices etc.Purifies an area of upto 215 sq.ft within an hour  Operates at noise levels as low as 23dB. Comes with an  advanced noise-reducing and double ball-bearing fan blade to keep noise levels low;  ideal for a peaceful sleep.  Energy efficient and cost effective; comes with an affordable replacement filter and costs only $7.5 for 8 hours of usage. 
Miko Air Purifier For Home HEPA Filter Air Cleaner Miko air purifier comes with several interesting features  like multiple fan speeds, built-in timer, maximum surface area for air flow, all around suction, replacement filter indicator and essential oil port. 
The filter is made of H13 medical grade filter, a preliminary filter, and anti-bacterial filter for super clean filtration and performance.
Large filtration components that offers all rounded purification
Miko air purifiers are effective against allergies, dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, bacteria, viruses, germs, fungi, mold etc. 
The Oscillating Intake process removes all particles in a tornado motion and  helps maximize efficiency.
Comes with an airtight insulation. 
Erosion protectant  ensures safety and durability.

Run air conditioners

When the AQI hits an unhealthy level of pollution, run your air conditioners in continuous cycles. This creates a cyclic airflow  and does not permit any particulates to enter the house. 

You can find the links to some air conditioners in the links below:

Air conditioners Why i recommend it 
AmazonBasics Window-Mounted Air Conditioner Remote controlled AC with dehumidifier 
Built in filter can be washed and reused 
Comes with an Auto restart and shut off feature 
LG 6,000 BTU 115V Window Air Conditioner Quiet operation: produces  sound as low as 52d
Comes with three fan speed options and allows customized cooling 
Auto restart feature 
Provides a cooling upto 260 sq ft 
Ideal for medium rooms

Install HVAC systems 

The HVAC system works efficiently towards filtering airborne contaminants. If you have a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) at home, set the fan to the “on” position rather than auto, especially when you have visitors. This helps in continuous circulation of air. The filter should be upgraded on a timely basis in order to maintain its efficiency.

Below are the best HVAC systems for improving the air flow in your room:

HVAC Systems Why i recommend it 
Honeywell F300E1019 Electronic Air Cleaner

This can be operated with gas, oil and AC systems.  Efficiency for capturing particles is upto 98%. Has a very low pressure drop
DAIKIN 9,000 BTU 17 SEER Wall-Mounted Ductless Mini-Split Inverter Air Conditioner  Daikin’s ductless technology offers  greater  energy efficiency; cools and warms up the room fast. Smart inverter technology with integrated inverted variable speed compressor Provides continuous heating and cooling with minimum temperature fluctuations. Quiet operation; with indoor sound levels as low as 37 decibels. 


Other FAQs about Air Quality that you may be interested in.

What does an Air Quality Index of 154 mean?

What does an Air Quality Index of 153 mean?

What does an AQI of 500 look like?


So in this article we discussed what does an Air Quality Index of 159 mean, which groups are more susceptible to such high levels of pollution, and what is the importance of AQI.  And finally how we can protect ourselves from the exposure to harmful pollutants. We hope you found this article helpful. 






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