Wildfires & Air Quality

 

 

 

Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory conditions 

  • Use “controller” steroid inhalers (like QVAR) as prescribed.

  • Use “quick relief” inhalers to help with shortness of breath.

  • If you have oxygen, use it if you have difficulty breathing.

  • Turn on your air conditioner to see if it helps, especially if it’s central air. If you have a window A/C unit, make sure the filter is clean.

  • Use fans in each room to help move the air in your house.

Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

Precautions

Most school districts and universities in the Sacramento region and Bay Area have temporarily closed due to hazardous air pollution caused by wildfires.

 

If you are a resident of this area, it is advised that you follow these recommended safety precautions:

  • Wear highly rated (N95-N100) masks that block fine air pollutants

  • Run home ventilation systems to filter air

  • Change air filters in homes and offices frequently to maximize circulation

  • Sign up for air quality alerts at airnow.gov

  • Limit time spent outdoors and physical activity

  • Stay hydrated

If you need to prepare to evacuate:

  • Move furniture to the center of rooms

  • Take down drapes and curtains to prevent combustion

  • Shut off natural gas from sources

  • Turn on the lights so firefighters can see through the smoke easily

  • Remain calm

  • Close air vents when driving

  • Turn headlights on

  • Keep car doors unlocked in case an emergency rescue is necessary

  • Document the damage to your property

Health Concerns

Why is wildfire smoke harmful?

  • Contains carbon monoxide and other toxic gases

  • Particulate matter (PM) larger than 10 micrometers: irritates eyes, nose, and throat

  • PM 2.5 micrometers or smaller: inhaled into the lungs, causes serious health concerns

 

Effects of poor air quality on health:

  • Persistent cough, shortness of breath

  • Rapid increase in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat

  • Watery or dry eyes, and headaches

Groups of people who are most susceptible:

  • People affected by:

    • Asthma

    • Respiratory disease

    • Cardiovascular disease

  • People who are

    • Under 10 years old or over 65 years old

    • Pregnant

    • Chronic smokers

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