TIPS FOR COPING WITH WILDFIRE SMOKE
As unbelievable as 2020 has been regarding health conditions, the Wildfires on the West Coast have added even more concerns for us to be aware of, specifically Wildfire Smoke. To fully understand the risk, it is imperative that we know what, exactly, Wildfire Smoke is: A complex mixture of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) and gases such as volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide.
While the effects of Wildfire Smoke can be extremely hazardous, there are ways to know if you are being affected, including but not necessarily limited to:
- A Scratchy Throat
- An Asthma Attack
- Chest Pain
- Fast Heartbeat
- Irritated Sinuses
- Runny Nose
- Stinging Eyes
- Trouble Breathing Properly
- Wheezing and Shortness of Breath
It is highly conceivable that you may be at risk of suffering from Wildfire Smoke, especially the closer you live to the West Coast. While distance does present some protection, it is estimated that this year’s Wildfire Smoke has drifted as far East as Europe, some 5,000 miles away! As a result, we all should be aware of the ways we can minimize the effect. These include, but are not limited to:
- Avoid Smoke Exposure During Outdoor Recreation – Refrain from going to Parks or Forests near Wildfires, OR that may be planning a Prescribed Burn.
- Consider Wearing a Protective Mask – This is made more palatable by the fact that, due to COVID 19, many of us are already doing so.
- Do not Maximize the Problem by Adding to “Indoor Pollution” – Avoid the utilization of:
- Tobacco Products
- Even the Vacuum Cleaner
- Drink Plenty of Water – Proper
Hydration allows the Kidneys and Liver to
effectively eliminate toxins.
- If you are told to stay indoors, STAY INDOORS!!! - See #3!
- Know Where to Find Information – Two key places are Local Air Quality Reports and the US Air Quality Index External .
- Listen to Your Body – If you experience one or more of the symptoms, take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure.
- Seek Comfortable Spaces in the Community – These include, but are not limited to, Community Centers, Libraries, and Malls. For the most part, these have Large Filtration Systems that improve Air Quality.
- Take it Easy – The harder you work, or work out, the more air/smoke you breathe.
- Understand how Susceptible YOU Are – Individuals who are at “High Risk” include:
- Those with Heart Issues
- Pregnant Women
- Older Adults
- Use a Portable Air Cleaner – Those with HEPA Air Filters are especially beneficial. In the case of an Emergency, a high quality Furnace Filter taped to a Box Fan can provide some protection as well. (Author’s Note: For Safety Reasons, be sure to never leave unattended!)
The bright side is that winter is on its way and, hopefully, the effects of the Wildfires will be greatly reduced. Until then, take the necessary steps to stay healthy, even if it does “cramp your style” more than you would like!
If you, or someone you know, needs help in managing their Diabetes, please call AVEON HEALTH at 480-300-4663 to make an appointment with a member of our staff and allow them to escort you down the path to an improved quality of life for you and your loved ones!
This Blog was written, in part, with information gleaned from the following sources: