Forest Fire Smoke and Your Health

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With active forest fires in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba, Environment Canada has issued special air quality statements for northern Ontario, including the Algoma district<https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=non>. Smoke plumes from these active fires may result in deteriorated air quality across our region today, clearing up late Monday.

Algoma Public Health cautions residents of the Algoma district that air pollution from wildfire smoke can be harmful to health and aggravate heart or lung conditions.

“Common, mild symptoms of smoke exposure include sore and watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, mild coughing, or headache,” says Nicole Lindahl from Algoma Public Health.  “People at higher risk may have more serious symptoms, like shortness of breath, severe wheezing or coughing, chest pain, or heart palpitations.  Anyone with these severe symptoms should seek prompt medical care.”

Those most at risk are:

  • Children
  • Elderly
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone with a heart or lung condition
  • Anyone doing strenuous exercise or work

Here are some other ways to reduce your risk during possible wildfire smoke exposure:

  • Limit or avoid outdoor activity and strenuous physical activities
  • At home and in vehicles, keep your windows closed and set the ventilation system to recirculate
  • If you have asthma, COPD, or other breathing problems use your medication as prescribed by your doctor, and seek medical care if needed

Note: wearing a cloth or medical mask helps prevent infection from COVID-19, but these masks do not provide protection from wildfire smoke

 

Learn more about wildfire smoke, air quality and your health<https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/air-quality-health-index/wildfire-smoke.html>. For air quality health visit http://www.airhealth.ca/ and learn how reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels.

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