Cautions for smoke from wildfires

PALM BEACH COUNTY — Department of Health in Palm Beach County is cautioning people sensitive to smoke especially those with respiratory and heart issues to limit their outdoor activities.

Smoke is a respiratory irritant, and can cause scratchy throat, irritated eyes, nose and worsen conditions such as asthma and other chronic respiratory or lung conditions. Avoid prolonged outdoor activities especially in the areas where wildfires are burning. Stay indoors and run your air conditioner. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with re-circulated air.

Note: If you don’t have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.

Keep particle levels inside lower. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves – and even candles! Don’t vacuum. That stirs up particles already inside your home. And don’t smoke tobacco.

Follow your doctor’s advice about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have respiratory or heart disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

Air Quality Index can be found by calling 561-837-5092 or www.flhealthpalmbeach.org

• “Good” AQI is 0 – 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

• “Moderate” AQI is 51 – 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.

• “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 – 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.

• “Unhealthy” AQI is 151 – 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.

• “Very Unhealthy” AQI is 201 – 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.

• “Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

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