HSHS Offers Safety Tips in Unhealthy Air

HSHS Offers Safety Tips in Unhealthy Air

With smoke from wildfires in Canada blowing into the region, the air quality has deteriorated rapidly, leading the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to issue an air quality alert. Specifically, the air quality in Eau Claire County is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups such as the elderly, children, those who are pregnant and those with respiratory and/or heart conditions.

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals say if there is enough smoke in the air for extended periods of time, it may affect the lungs and breathing capacity, but may also put strain on the heart and circulatory system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breathing in smoke may trigger the following:

  • Coughing
  • Stinging eyes
  • Scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Rapid heartbeat

Those whose age or health condition puts them in a higher-risk category are encouraged to limit exposure as much as possible with these six tips:

  1. Pay attention to local air quality reports and the U.S. Air Quality Index at: airnow.gov
  2. Stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Use air conditioning but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean. Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have air conditioning and it’s too warm to stay inside with windows closed.
  3. Use a free-standing indoor air filter with particle removal to help protect those with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions or children and the elderly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on where to place it and when to replace it.
  4. Do not add to indoor air pollution by burning candles or lighting a fireplace. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke.
  5. Follow your doctor’s advice about medication and respiratory management if you have asthma or another lung disease or cardiovascular disease.
  6. Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper, or “dust” masks, commonly found in hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust, but will not protect your lungs from smoke. If worn properly, an N95 mask will offer some protection.

For more information about protecting your health during poor air quality days, visit THIS WEBSITE WITH AN EASY CLICK.

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