avoiding smoke inhalation
Ivinson Memorial Hospital would like to remind Albany County Residents to take precautions to avoid illness due to wildfire smoke inhalation.
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:
- Be aware of smoke concentrations in your area.
- Avoid outdoor exertion during such conditions. Avoid strenuous outdoor activity including sports practice, work, and recreation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
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.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
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: