What to do when the air quality is bad!

 

Watch this video first then we will chat a minute..  Here’s what to do when the air quality is bad.

 

Air quality has been bad in Portland, Oregon and much of the northwest, which includes Redding California.   B.C. is suffering from thick smoke from the wild fires too which has grounded fighting aircraft. Sign reading danger wildfire

Bad Air Day? Here’s How to Survive

Polluted air contains particulate matter, lead, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide—all of which can cause problems in people with allergies or asthma. Even if pollution is low, airborne pollen and mold can make a trip outdoors particularly daunting for people with respiratory conditions.

One option is to reduce excessive exposure on days that might trigger symptoms. Avoid areas where pollen, mold, or other allergens are high. If you know that grass and trees are a problem, don’t spend the day in a tree-filled park; if you have to mow your lawn, wear a mask with a filter to reduce exposure to grass. Staying indoors with the windows closed and the air-conditioning on is also helpful.

Todd Rambasek, MD, of ENT & Allergy Health Services, in Cleveland, says there are three things that typically affect your ability to breathe outside:

  • How much of an allergen or pollutant is present.
  • How heavily you are breathing. (For example, you breathe more heavily when exercising.)
  • How well your symptoms are controlled, if you have asthma.

People with asthma often need to use an everyday controller medication, which is a drug that eases underlying lung inflammation. Bronchodilators are another type of asthma drug that can be used to expand airways and relieve symptoms, such as shortness of breath or coughing. However, if you are using a bronchodilator inhaler all the time to treat symptoms, its a sign that your asthma isnt under control and that you should be taking controller medication daily.

“If people take daily controller medications, they are less likely to have problems when they are near triggers,” says Dr. Rambasek.

In addition to regularly taking controller medications—such as fluticasone, Singulair, and Azmacort—asthmatics should also carry albuterol, a common bronchodilator, according to Dr. Rambasek. Using a bronchodilator inhaler about 30 minutes before going outside can be helpful, he says.

Over-the-counter antihistamines such as Claritin (loratadine) tend to work well and are relatively safe for those with allergies, Dr. Rambasek says. Dr. Benninger recommends using topical anti-allergy eye drops and Afrin for itchy eyes and congestion if symptoms are infrequent, though he cautions that Afrin should only be used for a few days at a time.

Dr. Benninger also advises patients to begin taking medications two to three weeks prior to allergy season. Steroid nasal sprays are particularly beneficial when taken in advance if you have allergies that affect your sinuses, he says.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggest to take steps to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke. 

https://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/index.html

  • Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI) or check the report on AirNow.gov. In addition, pay attention to public health messages about safety measures.
  • Consult local visibility guides. Some communities have monitors that measure the amount of particles in the air. In the western United States, some states and communities have guidelines to help people determine if there are high levels of particulates in the air by how far they can see.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible if you are advised to stay indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter in a designated evacuation center or away from the affected area. Learn more about reducing your smoke exposure indoors.[819 KB]
  • Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Prevent wildfires from starting. Prepare, build, maintain and extinguish campfires safely. Follow local regulations if you burn trash or debris. Check with your local fire department to be sure the weather is safe enough for burning.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Consider evacuating if you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor for  advice if your symptoms worsen.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper “comfort” or “dust” masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke. Read more on choosing and using respirators to protect your lungs from smoke and ash.[321 KB]
  • Evacuate from the path of wildfires. Listen to the news to learn about current evacuation orders. Follow the instructions of local officials about when and where to evacuate. Take only essential items with you. Follow designated evacuation routes–others may be blocked–and plan for heavy traffic.
  • Protect yourself cleaning up after a fire. Cleanup work can expose you to ash and other products of the fire that may irritate your eyes, nose, or skin and cause coughing and other health effects. Learn how to protect yourself from ash.[845 KB]

Who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke?

  • People who have heart or lung diseases, like heart disease, chest pain, lung disease, or asthma, are at higher risk from wildfire smoke.
  • Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
  • Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke. Children’s airways are still developing and they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Also, children often spend more time outdoors engaged in activity and play.

Wildfires burning near residential area

 

How to prevent Fires. 

 

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