Hospital warns of poor air quality after wildfires

Table Rock Fire Credit: Deborah-Zimmerman Dreher
Table Rock Fire Credit: Deborah-Zimmerman Dreher

AnMed Health respiratory experts are urging residents – especially those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses – to stay indoors and take other measures to avoid exposure to smoke caused by wildfires in the region.

Mike Shoemaker, manager of Respiratory Care Services at AnMed Health Women’s and Children’s Hospital and site coordinator for Asthmania Academy, says residents should protect themselves and their families – especially the very young, the elderly and those with asthma, COPD or other respiratory conditions.

He offers this advice:
• When possible, stay indoors with windows and doors closed. In homes without air conditioning or adequate heating, consider staying with friends or family members if indoor temperatures are uncomfortable.

• Reduce activity. During exercise, people can increase air intake as much as 10 to 20 times over their resting level. Increased breathing rates bring more pollution deep into the lungs.

• Reduce or eliminate sources of indoor pollution. Regular activities such as frying or broiling meat, spraying aerosol products, burning candles or vacuuming can increase particle levels in a home. Avoid smoking indoors at all times.

• Avoid ozone generators. Products often sold as “personal air purifiers” or “super-oxygen” air purifiers can degrade indoor air quality.

• Take your medications as prescribed and seek medical attention quickly of you develop respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. If you have an asthma action plan or another plan from you doctor, follow your plan and seek medical help quickly if you are not getting better.

Visibility (miles) Air Quality Index AQI Color
10+ 0 – 50 Good
6 – 9 51 – 100 Moderate
3 – 5 101 – 150 Unhealthy for sensitive groups
1 – 3 151 – 200 Unhealthy
< 1 201 – 300 Hazardous

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