Sunday, September 13, 2020

PNW Smoke

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, then you know it looks like a zombie apocalypse out there! The smoke is so thick, the sky looks orange. Please take this smoke seriously with your children, babies, and yourself (especially if you’re pregnant!). Air quality is VERY important for littles ones and pregnancies. 

If you or your family are experiencing any of the following smoke inhalation symptoms, please contact your doctor or go to your nearest emergency room/urgent care center and make sure to follow the steps below to make your home more safe from the wild fire smoke:
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing normally
  • Stinging eyes
  • A scratchy throat
  • Runny nose
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • An asthma attack
  • Tiredness
Here’s what the Washington Emergency Management Division suggests for keeping your home’s air quality safe:

Here’s what the EPA says about keeping your home safe from smoke:

  • Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Use fans and air conditioning to stay cool. If you cannot stay cool, seek shelter elsewhere.
  • Reduce the smoke that enters your home.
    • If you have an HVAC system with a fresh air intake, set the system to recirculate mode, or close the outdoor intake damper.
    • If you have a window air conditioner, close the outdoor air damper. If you cannot close the damper, do not use the window air conditioner. Make sure that the seal between the air conditioner and the window is as tight as possible.
    • If you have a portable air conditioner with a single hose, typically vented out of a window, do not use it in smoky conditions. If you have a portable air conditioner with two hoses, make sure that the seal between the window vent kit and the window is as tight as possible.
  • Use a portable air cleaner or high-efficiency filter to remove fine particles from the air.
    • If you use a portable air cleaner, run it as often as possible on the highest fan speed.
    • If you have an HVAC system with a high-efficiency filter installed, run the system’s fan as often as possible to remove particles while the air quality is poor.
  • Avoid activities that create more fine particles indoors, including:
    • Smoking cigarettes.
    • Using gas, propane or wood-burning stoves and furnaces.
    • Spraying aerosol products.
    • Frying or broiling food.
    • Burning candles or incense.
    • Vacuuming, unless you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during smoky times to reduce how much smoke you inhale.
  • Create a clean room.
  • Have a supply of N95 respirators and learn how to use them.
  • Air out your home by opening windows or the fresh air intake on your HVAC system when the air quality improves, even temporarily.

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