Tipster Michelle E. sent in the following:
EPA Offers Tips to Protect Health from Wildfire Smoke
During the current wave of forest fires, EPA has the following recommendations on how to protect your health from the effects of smoke.
- Pay attention to local air quality reports and stay alert to any news coverage or health warnings related to smoke. Air quality reports are based on data from local air quality monitors, recommending health precautions. Recent information is available at http://www.epa.gov and www.airnow.gov.
- Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, avoid physical outside activities and don't let your children play outdoors.
- If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep your windows and doors closed -- unless it's extremely hot outside.
- Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.
- 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.
- When indoors, avoid smoking and using:
- gas logs
- gas stoves
- the vacuum
- If you have asthma or other lung disease, make sure you follow your doctor's directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
- If you have heart or lung disease, if you are an older adult, or if you have children, talk with your doctor about whether and when you should leave the area.
For more information about health hazards related to wildfires, visit the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires.