The smoky air makes for colorful sunsets, such as this one over Possession Sound on Monday evening. Sue Misao/Sound Publishing

The smoky air makes for colorful sunsets, such as this one over Possession Sound on Monday evening. Sue Misao/Sound Publishing

Wildfire smoke causes poor air quality across region

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency urges people to take precautions.

  • Thursday, August 16, 2018 1:30pm
  • News

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency along with local health jurisdictions issued an air quality alert on Aug. 15, warning that air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke, which may cause health problems.

Currently, the air quality has reached levels that are unhealthy for everyone in the Puget Sound region, according to the alert. Smoke will likely linger through Aug. 16, and could return early next week, according to the agency.

Check the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website for the most recent conditions.

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems, including asthma attack, trouble breathing, coughing, stinging eyes, irritated sinuses, headaches, chest pain and fast heartbeat.

Everyone should take precautions, especially children, older adults, and people who are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD), or that have had a stroke:

Stay indoors when possible.

Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.

Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.

If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.

Avoid driving when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.

Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.

N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you.

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