Unhealthy Air Quality due to Smoke from Wildfires
Monday, September 21, 2020

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases and water vapor. It can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches and illness like bronchitis. It can also cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue and chest pain for people with sensitive conditions.

Protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of unhealthy or poor air quality:

  • Avoid unnecessary outdoor activity. This is especially important for those with heart or lung disease (including asthma), older adults and children.
  • If you have symptoms of lung or heart disease that may be related to smoke exposure, including severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness, contact your doctor immediately or go to an urgent care center. If life-threatening, please contact 911. 
  • Limit physical exertion (whether indoor or outdoor), such as exercise.
  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Use air conditioners that re-circulate air within the home. Avoid using air conditioning units that only draw in air from the outside or that do not have a re-circulating option. Check the filters and replace them regularly. Indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters can further reduce the level of particles that circulate indoors.
  • Do not use fireplaces, candles and vacuums. Use damp cloths to clean dusty indoor surfaces. Do not smoke.

For pet owners:

  • Avoid leaving your pets outdoors, particularly at night.
  • If dogs or cats appear to be in respiratory distress, they should be taken to an animal hospital immediately. Symptoms of respiratory distress for dogs include panting or an inability to catch their breath. Symptoms for cats are less noticeable but may include panting or an inability to catch their breath.

To learn more, visit http://www.aqmd.gov/.  

Information sourced from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.