Wildfire smoke causing unhealthy air quality
OLYMPIA – Elevated concentrations of wildfire smoke is causing unhealthy air quality in Central and Eastern Washington.
The Washington Department of Ecology and National Weather Service have issued an air quality alert, warning people of unhealthy air quality.
The air quality values will range from being unhealthy for sensitive groups to hazardous for everyone over the next few days. Weather patterns are preventing the smoke from clearing out at least through Thursday.
How to Protect Yourself
The Washington Department of Health recommends the following to protect you and your family from smoke-related health effects:
- Avoid physical exertion if smoke is in the air.
- If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible.
- Keep windows and doors closed. If conditions worsen, and it is too hot to keep windows and doors closed, consider leaving the area.
- Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the unit set to re-circulate. Change the filter regularly.
- Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to reduce indoor air pollution. A HEPA filter may reduce the number of irritating fine particles in indoor air. A HEPA filter with charcoal will help remove some of the gases from the smoke.
- Don’t add to indoor pollution. Don’t use candles, fireplaces or gas stoves. Don’t vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Don’t smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
- If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor’s directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your health care provider if your symptoms worsen.
- The Department of Health also recommends that people pay attention to public health messages from your local public health agency.
This air quality alert will be reevaluated at noon on Thursday, Aug. 20.
For smoke forecasts and other wildfire related information visit WAsmoke.blogspot.com.