County issues wildfire smoke warning

Posted September 8, 2022 at 3:49 pm by

San Juan Coun­ty shares infor­ma­tion about poten­tial health risks asso­ci­at­ed with wild­fire smoke that is expect­ed to reach the islands Fri­day through Sunday.

Smoke from near­by wild­fires is pre­dict­ed to make its way to San Juan Coun­ty this week­end, Sept. 9–11. Take pre­cau­tions to pro­tect your­self and fam­i­ly mem­bers if smoke reach­es unhealthy levels.

“We have three air qual­i­ty mon­i­tors one on each of the three largest islands,” said Coun­ty Health Offi­cer Dr. Frank James. “The Pur­ple Air sys­tem col­lects indi­vid­ual mon­i­tor­ing data and can be very use­ful to see what air qual­i­ty is like in real time locally.”

You can also mon­i­tor air qual­i­ty in our area using Wash­ing­ton Smoke Infor­ma­tion Blog or Washington’s Air Mon­i­tor­ing Net­work map.

Smoke con­tains very small par­ti­cles and gas­es. These par­ti­cles can get into your eyes and lungs where they can cause health prob­lems. Inhal­ing smoke is not good for any­one, how­ev­er, peo­ple most like­ly to have health prob­lems from breath­ing smoke include peo­ple with heart and lung dis­eases, peo­ple with res­pi­ra­to­ry infec­tions, peo­ple with dia­betes, stroke sur­vivors, infants, chil­dren, preg­nant peo­ple, and peo­ple over 65 years of age.

To reduce smoke exposure:

  • Lim­it time out­side and avoid stren­u­ous out­door activity
  • Close win­dows and doors unless it is too hot to main­tain safe temperatures
  • Don’t add to indoor air pol­lu­tion (e.g., cig­a­rette smok­ing, burn­ing candles)
  • Fil­ter indoor air (HVAC sys­tem, HEPA portable air clean­er, box fan filter)
  • Set air con­di­tion­er to circulate
  • Seek clean­er air else­where if need­ed and possible
  • If you must go out­side, wear a prop­er­ly fit­ted par­ti­cle res­pi­ra­tor, like a N95 mask

It is impor­tant to mon­i­tor symp­toms of smoke expo­sure. Symp­toms include burn­ing eyes, cough­ing, throat and nose irri­ta­tion, headaches, fatigue, wheez­ing and short­ness of breath, irreg­u­lar heart­beat, and chest pain. If your symp­toms become seri­ous, seek med­ical atten­tion immediately.

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