Officials Warn Of Smoke Exposure As Fires Burn Public Lands In Idaho
Boise, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Idaho department of Health and Welfare and the Department of Environmental Quality are warning residents to avoid unnecessary exposure to smoke from wildfires burning throughout Idaho. Most areas in southwest Idaho are experiencing air quality in the unhealthy for sensitive groups category. Although air quality in most other areas in Idaho remains in the good to moderate range, areas closer to the wildfires may experience air quality in the unhealthy for sensitive groups category or even in the unhealthy category affecting everyone at times.
People exposed to smoke may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and congestive heart disease are more affected. Those who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. People are advised to seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing, choking, or if breathing difficulty continues once they are indoors.
IDHW provides these tips for people to reduce their exposure to smoke and protect their health:
• Limit outdoor activity, especially for older adults, small children, and those with respiratory or heart disease.
• If the weather is warm, run your air conditioner to re-circulate air. Turn the fan blower on manually so it continuously filters the air in your home.
• Wash or change filters on air conditioners and/or furnaces frequently. Use high efficiency filters when possible.
• For homes without a central heating and/or cooling system , use portable air purifiers to remove particles (air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are best, avoid using air purifiers that produce ozone).
• Do not run or engage in heavy work or exercise when the air quality index reaches ‘unhealthy’ levels.
• Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Remaining hydrated helps dilute phlegm in the respiratory tract making it easier to cough smoke particles out. Plan on coughing, it is nature’s way of clearing your lungs. Avoid caffeine products, sugary drinks and alcohol as they have a dehydrating effect.
• If you wear contact lenses, switch to eyeglasses in a smoky environment.