Good outdoor air quality is fundamental to well-being. On average, a person inhales about 14,000 liters of air every day, and the presence of contaminants in this air can adversely impact people’s health. People with pre-existing respiratory and heart conditions, diabetes, the young, and older people are particularly vulnerable.
Wildfires & Air Quality in Spokane
Tips for Protecting Health During Poor Air Quality
It's important that individuals limit their exposure to smoke - especially if they are susceptible. Here are some steps people can take to protect themselves from smoke:
- Pay attention to air quality reports. The Air Quality Index (AQI) uses color-coded categories to report when air quality is good, moderate or unhealthy.
- Use common sense. If it looks and smells smoky outside, it is probably not a good time to go for a jog, mow the lawn or allow children to play outdoors.
- Individuals with asthma or other respiratory or lung conditions should follow their provider's directions on taking medicines. They should call their provider if symptoms worsen.
- If a person has heart or lung disease, is an older adult, or has children, they should talk with their provider about whether and when they should leave the area. When smoke is heavy for a prolonged period of time, fine particles can build up indoors even though a person may not see them.
- Some room air cleaners can help reduce particulate levels indoors, as long as they are the right type and size for your home.
- Paper "comfort" or "dust masks" are not the answer. The kinds of masks that people can commonly buy at the hardware store are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. But they generally will not protect lungs from the fine particles in smoke.
- Respiratory masks labeled N95 or N100 provide some protection - they filter out some fine particles but not hazardous gases in smoke (such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and acrolein.) This type of mask can be found at many hardware and home repair stores and pharmacies.
Spokane Current Air Quality,
Spokane Regional Health District wildfire FAQ
Washington State Department of Health Wildfire Smoke