Summer of Smoke


If you’re like most Northern Californians, you’re probably getting a little annoyed by all the smoke lately. In what has become one of the worst fire seasons in our state’s history, the smoke created by the multitude of fires spanning the state has put many at risk. Listed below are a few things to remember when the air quality is terrible:

  1. Stay indoors

This goes without saying, but the best way to combat the smoke is to stay indoors and out of the elements. The more exposure you have to the smoke, the more likely you are to develop respiratory symptoms. Sore throat, itchy eyes, shortness of breath, sinus pain, headache, etc are all indications that the smoke is getting to you. These symptoms become exponentially worse for at risk groups – young children, elderly, those with asthma/COPD, immunocompromised individuals, etc. The best treatment for all of us at this point, is to limit our exposure. If you develop any symptoms aside from life threatening emergencies, feel free to visit us at Vista Complete Care to get evaluated as needed.

2. Wear a Mask

If you absolutely must go outside, be sure to wear an N95 or P100 respirator mask. Not those flimsy paper masks (they don’t filter out smoke). The N95 and P100 will give you the best shot at filtering out the bad stuff, smoke particles, etc and protecting yourself from adverse events.

3. Close the Windows

Even if you can’t smell the smoke, if the air quality is bad you’ll want to keep those windows closed. The goal here is to maintain “good” air quality in your house. You can take it a step further and avoid smoking inside, don’t burn candles, limit vacuuming, etc as these practices can decrease indoor air quality.

4. Change your house Air Filter

Yes, your house actually has an air filter. Experts recommend changing these every 3 months. If you are in an area with poor air quality, you may want to consider changing it today. These help filter out all the particulate matter that can make it’s way into your home. You can pick these up at your local hardware store, just be sure to know the size you need first.

5. Know your air quality

There are many monitoring sites available online (and apps as well) to monitor outdoor air quality. A couple sites I’ve used in the past are AQICN.GOV and Air Now. These will give you a quick look at the air quality due to the fires, and may aid in your decision making if spending all day hiking is a good idea.

As mentioned before, bad and smoky air can create a host of problems. Most of these are treatable and preventable. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us, drop in or schedule an appointment at Vista Complete Care in Auburn, CA.

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