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A Message from Our Friends at Southeast Health District

Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke


 Due to smoky conditions that may occur in your area because of wildfire, local public health officials urge residents to take precautions.


Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects. Even someone who is healthy can get sick if there is enough smoke in the air. Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.


If you see or smell smoke in the air, limit your exposure. Here are some tips to help you protect your health and minimize smoke exposure:


  • Stay indoors and keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed unless it is too hot outside. Run an air conditioner if you have one, and use on the “recirculate” setting so outside air will not be moved into the room.
  • Avoid physical exertion, especially if you smell smoke or notice eye or throat irritation.
  • When driving your car in smoky areas, keep your windows and vents closed. Air conditioning should only be operated in the “recirculate” setting.
  • Keep at least a five-day supply of medication on hand.
  • Follow your doctor's advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
  • Seek medical attention if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue. This is important not only for people with chronic lung or heart disease, but also for individuals who have not been properly diagnosed with such illnesses. Smoke can “unmask” or produce symptoms of such diseases.


For more information, visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires.

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