An air quality advisory has been issued for Metro Vancouver due to particulate matter in the air caused by smoke from wildfires in our region. The advisory is expected to continue until there is a change in weather.
People are being advised to avoid strenuous physical activity outdoors, especially if symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation occur.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke and should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and if necessary see their physician. People with symptoms should go to their health care provider, walk in clinic or emergency department depending on severity of symptoms.
- Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids
- Smoke levels may be lower indoors; however levels of smoke particles will still be increased. If you stay indoors, be aware of your symptoms.
- Consider visiting a location like a shopping mall with cooler filtered air. Keep in mind that staying indoors may help you stay cool and provide some relief from the smoke, however many air conditioning systems do not filter the air or improve indoor air quality.
- Reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking or burning other materials.
- You may be able to reduce your exposure to smoke by moving to cleaner air. Conditions can vary dramatically by area and elevation.
- Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
- Pay attention to local air quality reports, air quality may be poor even though smoke may not be visible.
- Commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters can further reduce poor indoor air quality near the device.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short term exposure to air pollution.
Real-time air quality information in B.C. is available at http://www.bcairquality.ca.