On Saturday, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón,
urged Californians in areas affected by wildfire smoke to take steps to protect their health,
including staying indoors and reducing outdoor activity if necessary to avoid the inhalation of smoke and ash.
Californians can check their local air quality index (AQI) at EPA AirNow.
"Wildfires, and the resulting smoke and ash, can be particularly unhealthy for vulnerable people, including children,
older adults, those with respiratory illness or asthma, and pregnant people," said Dr. Aragón.
"Californians should be aware of the risks of wildfire smoke and ash inhalation. Vulnerable people, especially children,
older adults, and those who are pregnant should reduce outdoor activity and stay indoors, if possible."
Wildfire smoke contains fine particles which are respiratory irritants, and when inhaled deeply,
can affect the lungs and the heart. Exposure to high concentrations of fine particles can cause persistent cough, runny nose, phlegm, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.
Smoke from wildfires can also cause eye irritation, reduced lung function, and bronchitis.
Breathing smoke can also make asthma symptoms worse. People with underlying lung or heart problems should limit their exposure by staying indoors.
People who must work outdoors for long periods, in areas with heavy smoke, or where ash is present,
should wear a well-fitting N95 or P100 respirator mask. Since wearing a respirator can make it harder to breathe,
those with lung or heart problems should ask their doctor before using one.
Wildfires can also lead to emergency evacuations and it's important to follow the direction of local officials when evacuations are ordered.
"During a wildfire event, you should prioritize your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
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