Not only is the Foothills under a Heat Warning but Environment Canada's now issued a Special Air Quality Statement due to wildfire smoke from British Columbia.
The wildfire smoke is also causing reduced visibility in some areas.
Environment Canada sent out the statement just after 1:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
They also sent out some tips and suggestions for those that struggle with breathing issues.
- People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.
- Speak with your health care provider about developing a management plan for wildfire smoke events and maintaining a supply of necessary medications at home and always carrying these medications with you during wildfire season.
- Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you or someone in your care feel unwell.
- Contact your health care provider or local health authority if you develop severe symptoms or need advice.
- Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and monitor your symptoms.
- Drinking lots of water can help your body cope with the smoke.
- If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the highest rated MERV filter for your system (ideally rated 13 or higher) and set the fan to recirculate air constantly.
- You can also use a portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air cleaner.
- Keep your doors and windows closed if the temperature in your home is comfortable.
- Take a break from the smoke at a location in your community where you can find clean, cool air.
- If you must spend time outdoors, a well-fitted respirator type mask (such as a NIOSH certified N95 or equivalent respirator) that does not allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, can help reduce your exposure to the fine particles in smoke. These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke.
- It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.
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