Smokey Skies – Be Nice to Your Lungs – Stay Inside!

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Daddy has been feeling well enough to work outside with mama and fix a few sprinklers. That was until all the fires began to rage. Now he’s not feeling so good!

If you live in California you may find out the quality of the air in your area by visiting the EPA Air Now website.

The huge fires that have swept across the Golden State are filling not only California with smoke but many states across the nation. If you’re like me and my daddy, perhaps you don’t feel much different after being outside for a while, but that smoke is affecting you more than you might think.

Vulnerability to Smoke

Children, the elderly and people with heart or lung conditions will be affected the most. The closer you are to a fire, the more particulates there are in the air and the effects can make you cough. What affects our lungs and breathing, affects our body’s strength. My daddy started complaining about feeling weak. I cautioned him to stay indoors and to use the inhaler his doctor had prescribed.

Even you athletic types may be affected by the smoky air. When you engage in vigorous activities, you breathe deeper and inhale more of that smoke than others taking it easy. According to the article published on Manitoba, smoke can affect you in a number of ways.

“Exposure to smoke can cause sore eyes, tears, cough and a runny nose. If the smoke lasts days to weeks or is very heavy, it can cause lung problems and a longer-lasting cough. Exposure to smoke can also make heart and lung conditions worse.”

Safety Tips

  • Limit outdoor activities, especially if it makes you tired or short of breath.
  • Stay inside and keep windows and doors closed. If you have an air conditioner, set it to “re-circulate” and keep it running to help filter the air and keep you cool. If you do not have air conditioning, if possible, try spending some time in an air-conditioned place (such as a mall or library) to cool off.
  • Keep a close watch on at risk individuals, particularly those who live alone. Young children, elderly people and individuals with chronic conditions may be more sensitive to heat or smoke. For more information on heat, please see Heat and Your Health.
  • If you are in your car or truck, keep the windows closed and put the air system on “re-circulate.”
  • Limit any strenuous indoor activities if you have been exposed to smoke.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke.
  • If you have room air cleaners with HEPA filters, turn them on.
  • Don’t burn anything, including wood stoves, gas stoves and even candles.

If you are experiencing a persistent cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness of the chest or are feeling significantly weak or fatigued, see your doctor and do take precautions to stay away from the bad air.

As long as my daddy stays indoors and keeps a fan recycling the inside air, he does pretty well. I hope you’ll be cautious while going outside into smoked-filled air and check on your older loved one. Daddy didn’t know the bad air could make him feel weak and tired.

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