Wildfire season is here. To prepare for the hazy skies that will interrupt your summer fun, here are some tips to keep yourself and your family safe.
WHAT IS WILDFIRE SMOKE?
Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation, building materials, and other materials.
CAN WILDFIRE SMOKE MAKE ME SICK?
Yes, wildfire smoke can make people sick. Some immediate symptoms of wildfire smoke are:
- Trouble breathing normally
- Stinging eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Irritated sinuses
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Asthma attack
- Fast heartbeat
Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.
STAY INSIDE DURING POOR AIR QUALITY
When the air quality is poor, try to stay inside. If you can’t stay inside, limit your amount of activity outside. Stay updated on the air quality during wildfire season in Washinton at https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/ and in Idaho at http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/
KEEP INDOOR AIR CLEAN
If you have an air conditioner, make sure the fresh-air intake is closed to prevent outdoor smoke from entering. If you don’t have an air conditioner, the City of Spokane has locations around the city for sheltering during heat and poor air quality.
Use a freestanding indoor air filter with particle removal to reduce the effects of wildfire smoke in your home.
You can make a home indoor clean air filter with a box fan and a MERV 13 filter. The Washington Department of Ecology has a DIY guide on how to build a clean-air fan.