What are the Health Threats from Wildfire Smoke?

Dry conditions and extreme heat in parts of the United States, especially in Central Oregon and Washington, increase the potential for wildfires in or near wilderness areas. Stay alert for wildfire warning and take action to protect yourself and your family from wildfire smoke.

Smoke from wildfires is a mix of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes and respiratory system, and can also worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

Who are at High Risk from Wildfire Smoke?

  • People who are suffering from heart or lung diseases, this includes congestive heart failure, COPD, angina, asthma or emphysema, is at greater risk of having heart problems from the smoke.
  • People with Diabetes, they are more likely to have an underlying cardio vascular disease.
  • Pregnant Women, inhaling the smoke could potentially have health effects for you and the developing fetus.
  • Elderly or older adults are more susceptible to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more prone to have lung or heart diseases than younger people.
  • Children also are at high-risk from the smoke. Children and teenagers’ airways are still developing, and they breathe more air per pound of body weight compared to adults.

Tips for People with Chronic Diseases:

  • Assure that you have enough supply of medication for more than five days.
  • If you have heart disease, check with your health care providers about precautions to take during smoke events.
  • If you have asthma, secure you have a written asthma management plan.
  • If you intend to use a portable air cleaner, choose a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or an electrostatic precipitator (ESP). Be sure to buy the one that suits the room size specified by the manufacturer.
  • Contact your health care provider if your condition can get worse when you are exposed to smoke.

Steps to Lessen Your Risks from Wildfire Smoke:

  1. Monitor Local Air Quality Reports – Be aware, listen and watch for news or health warnings about wildfire smoke. Check if your community provides reports about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI). Pay attention to public health reports about taking additional safety measures.
  2. Refer to Local Visibility Guides – Not all communities have a monitor that measures the volume of particles that are in the air. In the Western United States, some areas have a guideline to help predict the Air Quality Index (AQI) based on how far people can see.
  3. Stay Indoors, Keep Indoor Air as Clean as Possible – Limit your exposure from the wildfire smoke. Keep windows and doors closed. Run the air conditioner if you have one, and maintain the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to stop outdoor smoke from getting inside. Also, consider installing an HVAC Fire Smoke Indoor Air Quality systems such as Lennox Healthy Climate PCO3-16-16 Air Purification System and SolaceAir Indoor Air Quality Systems to guarantee that your indoor air quality is safe and clean for you and your family.
  4. Avoid Activities that Increase Indoor Pollution – Avoid using anything that burns, such as fireplaces, candles, or gas stoves. Vacuuming spurs up particles already inside your home, and smoking also puts, even more, pollution into the air.
  5. Do Not Just Rely on Dust Masks for Protection – Masks such as paper “comfort” or “dust” are designed to catch large particles like sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smaller particles found in wildfire smoke. Instead, use Respirators, it’s a specially designed air filters worn on the face. If you choose to wear a respirator, select an N95 or P-100, but they must fit properly and be used correctly. They are available at various hardware and home repair stores, and also online.

Here at Einstein Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling, we care about our community, and we’d love to help you in every way we can. In this kind of disaster, it’s best to stay informed of the latest news and learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from risks.

Contact Einstein Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling at 888-671-7767 or email support@einsteinplumbing.com to have a professional air quality, plumbing, heating & cooling, water heater, and sewer & main line solutions. We care about you and your family’s health and well-being, so let us help you.

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