Unhealthy air reported in Puget Sound due to wildfire smoke

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agecy issued an alert Saturday that due to wildfire smoke, air quality is currently unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy in many places due to wildfire smoke. The highest levels will be Saturday night through Sunday morning.
Also, the Bolt Creek fire near Skykomish is creating a lot of upper-level smoke that is getting pushed northwest toward Marysville, the agency noted. That smoke may move down to ground level Saturday night and could lead to very unhealthy air quality overnight in those areas.
A storm system should help clear out the smoke in our region late Sunday or Monday, the agency said.

Updates will be provided as conditions develop at www.pscleanair.gov.

Wildfire smoke can cause and worsen many health problems such as:
  • Asthma attack
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • 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 the following 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 day care 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. Please 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.
  1. But sure, let’s have a gas-guzzling, exhaust spewing car show on top of this to even further worsen air quality. Great idea.

    1. KN 95s work well during times of poor outdoor air quality. Personally could not have gone outside without one this weekend.

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