Prepare for wildfire smoke, unhealthy air quality

  • Sat Jul 21st, 2018 7:00am
  • News

Submitted by Washington State Department of Health

As wildfire season heats up, officials at the Washington State Department of Health are urging everyone in Washington to plan for smoky days with poor air quality.

Simple steps to take now include identifying where to find air quality reports for your area. The Washington Smoke Information Blog has a map of current fires and air quality reports statewide. EPA’s smoke sense mobile app has location-specific information on smoke and health impacts. For those with heart or lung disease, including asthma, ask doctors what precautions should be taken when air quality is impacted by smoke. Have the necessary medication and recommended supplies stocked. Buy a portable air cleaner with a high-efficiency HEPA filter and create a “clean” room to spend time in when the air isn’t healthy. Select a room with no fireplace, and a few windows and doors.

Information about health impacts of smoke and more tips on how to stay healthy when smoke levels are high can be found at www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/AirQuality/SmokeFromFires.Sensitive groups include children under 18 and adults over 65, people with heart and lung diseases, people with illnesses and colds, people who have had a stroke, pregnant women and people who smoke. These people should especially take care to reduce exposures by limiting outdoor activity and staying indoors with cleaner air when it’s smoky outside. Symptoms from exposure to smoky air can range from minor to life-threatening and include watery or dry eyes, coughing or wheezing, throat and sinus irritation, phlegm, shortness of breath, headaches, irregular heartbeat and chest pain. People experiencing serious symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.