Wildfire smoke building across the Puget Sound Region expected to be unhealthy by Monday morning

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The sky is not supposed to be that color
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
From the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

Air quality is becoming UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS in some areas already, and this is expected to spread to the rest of our region by Monday morning.

With winds pushing smoke from British Columbia and the fires in the Cascades in our direction, we expect poor air quality to continue through Wednesday.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:
  • Trouble breathing 
  • Asthma attack 
  • Coughing
  • Stinging eyes
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sensitive groups should take precautions, including: children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (such as asthma and COPD), or that have had a stroke.
  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports. 
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the "recirculation" switch. Use an indoor air filter if available. 
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center. 
  • Avoid driving, when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car's fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don't pull air from outside. 
  • Schools and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
  • N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
  • For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health's Smoke From Fire tips.
  • As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

To learn more about wildfire smoke, and to subscribe to updates, visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's website.

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