Unhealthy air quality to continue this week due to wildfire smoke

A screenshot of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency sensor map just before noon Tuesday.

The impacts of wildfire smoke are expected to continue until late this week, with unhealthy air quality levels rising, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency warned Tuesday.

Air quality is expected to be unhealthy for everyone levels near active fires, including a new fire in east King County. As of Tuesday, other areas in the Puget Sound region are expected to be unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Check out the sensor map for the latest air quality in your area at pscleanair.gov/SensorMap.

The agency said it is monitoring the situation and will provide updates as conditions develop at pscleanair.gov.

Wildfire smoke can cause and worsen many health problems such as:

Asthma attack
Chest pain
Fast heartbeat
Irritated sinuses
Stinging eyes
Trouble breathing

Wildfire smoke can affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems and increase health risks, especially for sensitive populations.

Everyone should take precautions:

– Stay at home when possible. If you can’t stay cool at home or are especially sensitive to smoke, it may be best to seek shelter elsewhere.

– Limit your activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, sports, or hobbies.

– If possible, close windows in your home to keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use it in recirculation mode.

– Make sure your home ventilation system is maintained following manufacturer recommendations (like replacing filters regularly). Don’t contribute to indoor air pollution such as burning candles or vacuuming. Use a portable air cleaner if available.

– If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a mall, public library, or community center. Call ahead to make sure they have air conditioning.

– Heat can be dangerous too. If it becomes unbearably hot, it’s better to open the windows for a short period of time.

– Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors. More information here.

-Masks with the label “N95” or “N100” are the most effective type of mask that protects you from air pollution. Any mask or face covering should be used only as a last resort to protect against wildfire smoke. Check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.

-Other face coverings, such as surgical or cloth masks, are not recommended because they offer limited protection from air pollution and wildfire smoke

-People respond to smoke in different ways and at different levels. Pay attention to symptoms that you or those you are caring for are experiencing and take the above steps to reduce exposures at lower smoke levels if needed.

-Check with your health care provider for more specific health questions and concerns. As always, seek medical attention if symptoms are serious.

Learn more at www.pscleanair.gov/wildfires.

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