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Can Wildfire Smoke Affect Your Health?


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It seems as though there is always a story on the news about a wildfire breaking out and how difficult they are to contain. Most people think of wildfires and they think about the damage and destruction they can do to homes, vehicles, and personal belongings. What most people don’t consider is the damage the wildfire can do to their health.

How Can Smoke Affect Your Health?

The smoke that is created from a wildfire is a mixture of fine particles and gasses from the burning trees and plant materials. These particles and gasses can result in:

  • Burning eyes
  • An irritated respiratory system
  • Hacking cough
  • Worsens heart disease
  • Worsens lung disease

Who Can Be the Most Effected By the Smoke From Wildfires?

The smoke from a wildfire can affect anyone, however, there are certain people who are at greater risk of having complications.

  • People who have heart or lung problems: If you have any type of heart disease, asthma, or another type of lung disease, you are at greater risk of developing complications from the smoke from a wildfire than a healthy person would be.
  • The elderly: The elderly are at greater risk of developing complications due to wildfire smoke. The reason is that an elderly person has a weaker heart and weaker lungs than a younger person. Also, many elderly people already have lung and heart complications.
  • Children: Children are in danger when it comes to wildfire smoke. A child’s airway is still developing, therefore, they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Also, children spend a great deal of their time outdoors playing.

How to Protect Yourself From Wildfire Smoke

If you want to protect your family and your family from wildfire smoke complications, there are a few steps that you should take.

  • Pay attention to air quality reports: If the air outdoors is dangerous due to wildfire smoke, it will be mentioned on the news. If the news or health reports say that the air quality is poor, you should try to stay indoors.
  • Keep your windows closed: If the air quality outside is poor, you want to keep the air quality inside clean. To do this, keep the windows closed. If you need to run your air conditioner, you should close the intake for fresh air. Also, keep the filter clean to keep the smoke from outside from getting in.
  • Avoid any activities that will increase pollution: When the air quality outdoors is bad, you should avoid burning candles, using your fireplace, and using your gas stove. You should also avoid vacuuming. It can stir up particles in the air, which can make the indoor pollution worse.
  • Don’t rely on dust masks for protection: You should not put on a dust mask and expect it to protect you from the wildfire smoke. These masks are designed to trap large particles, like sawdust. They are not made to collect the small particles that are created by wildfires.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice: If you are having trouble breathing during the fire, you should contact your doctor. You should follow the instructions that the doctor gives you and take the medication as prescribed.
  • Consider evacuating: If you are having difficulty breathing both indoors and outdoors, you should consider evacuating until the firefighters have everything under control. Evacuating could be the healthiest thing for you.

In a perfect world, wildfires wouldn’t put us at risk. Since we don’t live in a perfect world it is important to know who is at risk and what you can do to protect yourself and your family during a wildfire.

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