avoiding smoke inhalation

Ivinson Memorial Hospital would like to remind Albany County Residents to take precautions to avoid illness due to wildfire smoke inhalation.

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Smoke from wild­fires is a complex mixture of gases and fine parti­cles produced when wood and other organic mate­ri­als burn. Smoke can irri­tate your eyes and respi­ra­tory system and can worsen chronic lung and heart disease. While not every­one has the same sensi­tiv­ity to wild­fire smoke, it is still a good idea to avoid breath­ing smoke if you can help it. 

Poor air qual­ity condi­tions are a health threat and all resi­dents should limit their expo­sure to smoke. Those with respi­ra­tory or heart disease, the elderly, chil­dren & teenagers, expect­ing moth­ers, and those with diabetes are advised to stay indoors when the air qual­ity is poor.

Please take the follow­ing precau­tions to avoid breath­ing prob­lems or other symp­toms from smoke:

  1. Be aware of smoke concen­tra­tions in your area.
  2. Avoid outdoor exer­tion during such condi­tions. Avoid stren­u­ous outdoor activ­ity includ­ing sports prac­tice, work, and recreation.
  3. Drink lots of water – stay­ing hydrated can keep your airways moist which will help reduce respi­ra­tory irri­ta­tion such as scratchy throat, running nose and coughing.
  4. Try to avoid driving in smoky areas. If you do not need to drive in these areas, keep your windows rolled up and vents closed. If you need air condi­tion­ing, make sure you set your system on re-circu­late” to avoid bring­ing smoke into your car.
  5. Avoid smoke by stay­ing indoors, clos­ing all windows and doors and use a filter in your heating/​cooling system that removes very fine partic­u­late matter.
  6. People with concerns about health issues, includ­ing those suffer­ing from asthma or other respi­ra­tory prob­lems, should follow their breath­ing manage­ment plans: keep medica­tions on hand and contact health providers if necessary.

prepare for fire season if you live in a fire-prone area

If you have heart, vascu­lar or lung disease, includ­ing asthma, talk with your health­care provider before fire season to make plans. Discuss when to leave the area, how much medi­cine to have on hand, and your asthma action plan if you have asthma.

Have a several-day supply of nonper­ish­able foods that do not require cook­ing. Cook­ing — espe­cially frying and broil­ing — can add to indoor pollu­tion levels.

Consider buying an air cleaner. Some room air clean­ers can help reduce parti­cle levels indoors, as long as they are the right type and size for your rooms as spec­i­fied by the manu­fac­turer. If you choose to buy an air cleaner, don’t wait until there’s a fire — make that deci­sion before­hand. Note: Don’t use an air cleaner that gener­ates ozone. That just puts more pollu­tion in your home.

Have a supply of N-95 or P-100 masks on hand, and learn how to use them correctly. They are sold at many hard­ware and home repair stores and online.


during a fire

Pay atten­tion to local air qual­ity reports. As smoke gets worse, the concen­tra­tion of parti­cles in the air increases — and so should the steps you take to protect your­self. Air qual­ity reports are avail­able through local news media, your local air agency or on airnow​.gov.

Use common sense to guide your activ­i­ties. Even if you don’t have a moni­tor in your area, if it looks or smells smoky outside, it’s prob­a­bly not a good time to mow the lawn or go for a run. And it’s prob­a­bly not a good time for chil­dren — espe­cially chil­dren with asthma — to be vigor­ously active outdoors, or active outdoors for prolonged peri­ods of time. If you are active outdoors, pay atten­tion to symp­toms. Symp­toms are an indi­ca­tion that you need to reduce exposure.

Dust masks aren’t enough! Paper dust” masks or surgi­cal masks will not protect your lungs from the fine parti­cles in wild­fire smoke. Scarves or bandanas (wet or dry) won’t help, either. Partic­u­late masks known as N-95 or P-100 respi­ra­tors will help, but they must fit well and be used correctly. They are sold at many hard­ware and home repair stores and online.

If you are advised to stay indoors, take steps to keep indoor air as clean as possi­ble. Keep your windows and doors closed — unless it’s extremely hot outside. Run your air condi­tioner, if you have one. Keep the filter clean to prevent bring­ing addi­tional smoke inside. Open windows to air out the house when air qual­ity improves. Note: If you don’t have an air condi­tioner, stay­ing inside with the windows closed may be danger­ous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alter­na­tive shel­ters, such as with rela­tives or a cleaner air shelter.

Help keep parti­cle levels inside lower. When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine parti­cles can build up indoors even though you may not be able to see them. Try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fire­places, gas logs, gas stoves — and even candles. Don’t vacuum. That stirs up parti­cles already inside your home. And don’t smoke. That puts even more pollu­tion in your lungs, and in the lungs of people around you.

If you have asthma or another lung disease, make sure you follow your health­care provider’s direc­tions about taking your medi­cines and follow­ing your asthma action plan. Have at least a five-day supply of medica­tion on hand. Call your health­care provider if your symp­toms worsen.

If you have cardio­vas­cu­lar disease, follow your health­care provider’s direc­tions and call if your symp­toms worsen. If you think you are having a heart attack or stroke, dial 911


Get air qual­ity infor­ma­tion: If there is an active fire in your area, follow your local news, the airnow​.gov website, or your state air qual­ity website for up-to-date infor­ma­tion.

This infor­ma­tion is from: