Smoke Alert Issued - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Smoke Alert Issued

Smoke Alert Issued

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Heath Officials are warning residents to take precautions to avoid health problems related to smoke from wildfires.

Below is the Alert issued by the Southeast Health District:

The Southeast Health District and your local health department are asking that residents take precautions to avoid health problems related to the smoky conditions caused by the current wildfires.

Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials.

Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

Anyone can experience effects from smoke exposure, but individuals with chronic heart and lung conditions, children, the elderly and pregnant women are at increased risk.

If you are in smoke-impacted areas (which includes areas with visible smoke, smell of smoke, air is hazy or there is "dust" in the air), public health urges you to:

  • Stay inside with windows and doors shut.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner and if it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere that has air conditioning or is away from the smoke.
  • Avoid cooking and vacuuming, which can increase pollutants indoors.
  • Avoid physical exertion.
  • Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.
  • Keep at least a five-day supply of medication on hand.
  • Contact your doctor 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 previously diagnosed with such illnesses. Smoke can "unmask" or produce symptoms of such diseases.
  • Consider canceling outdoor events.

Residents returning to homes in fire-impacted areas need to use caution.

There may still be "hot spots" smoldering which can lead to someone being burned. Also, older adults, people with small children and anyone with chronic heart and lung diseases should take precautions when cleaning up due to irritants in the air.

"We encourage residents to take these precautions, especially residents with chronic lung and heart diseases and young children," said Dr. Rosemarie Parks, Southeast Health District medical director.

"Even healthy individuals may experience problems related to the smoke. The best thing to do is limit your outdoor activities until the smoke is gone."

For more information about health problems related to the smoke, go to www.sehdph.org or call your local healthcare provider.