I hope you are staying healthy during the effects from the Canada wildfires.
I received this notification yesterday from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) about guidance during the wildfire smoke and wanted to share it with you.
The air quality should be improving gradually and hopefully be better by Sunday. But it is important to check this link AirNow (1) to get current updates in your area.
The reason why the smoke is so harmful is because of the particulate matter (PM)–the very small particles than can get in our lungs and blood vessels, eyes, ears, nose, and throat and cause medical problems. The current PM that is in the smoke is called PM 2.5, which is 2.5 microns wide. There are 25,000 microns in one inch.(2)
Here are the salient points from bulletin from the NYC DOHMH:
“Smoke from wildfires in Canada is continuing to impact New York City air quality. The conditions are changing in real time as we experience this event. Everyone should monitor news alerts for updates. Wildfire smoke can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
Groups that may be more sensitive to wildfire smoke include:
– Infants and Children
– Older Adults
– Pregnant Women
– People with Lung Conditions
– People with Heart Conditions
– People with Social Vulnerabilities, such as lack of access to safe housing or health care, lack of transportation, and other factors
There are effective steps you can take to reduce the effects of wildfire smoke:
– Stay indoors and limit time spent outdoors.
– Reduce physical activity when air quality is in the unhealthy range.
– Keep windows closed.
– Use an air purifier if you have one and set it at the highest level
– If you use an AC, close the fresh air intake, and set it to recirculate to avoid bringing in smokey air.
– All New Yorkers should wear a high-quality mask (e.g., N95 or KN95) when outside, especially if you are an older adult or have heart (and/or) breathing problems.
– Monitor changing air quality conditions on the EPA Air Now Site at: AirNow
Also of note:
Most healthy people will recover quickly from wildfire smoke exposure and will not suffer long-term health consequences.
Exposure to particulate matter (PM) is currently the principal known public health threat from wildfire smoke. Fine particles from smoke and coarse particles from ash are respiratory irritants that can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.”(3)
According to NYC DOHMH you can sign up for Notify NYC messages from the City of New York City to receive updates and alerts.(3)
Even though we are dealing with the current effects of forest fire smoke, you can take measures to reduce your exposure and preserve your health.
I wish you a good rest of the week and weekend.
1. Air Now
2. Fine Particles (PM 2.5) Questions and Answers: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/pmq_a.htm#:~:text=The%20term%20fine%20particles%2C%20or,unit%20of%20measurement%20for%20distance
3. NYC DOHMH Advisory #9: Guidance During Wildfire Smoke
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