The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and local county health departments have issued a wildfire smoke alert.
According to a news release from the agency, “As of Thursday morning, September 10, wildfire smoke levels are Moderate to Unhealthy for sensitive groups across the Puget Sound region. Thursday night, we expect significant smoke from Oregon to reach our region.”
The agency reports that by Friday morning, air quality may reach Unhealthy status for everyone.
Sensitive groups, especially infants, children, and people over 65, or those that are pregnant, have heart or lung diseases (such as asthma or COPD), respiratory infections, diabetes, stroke survivors, and those suffering from COVID-19 should take precautions:
- Stay at home when possible.
- Limit activities outdoors, such as running, bicycling, sports, or physical labor.
- Close windows to keep the indoor air clean. Heat is dangerous, too. If it becomes unbearably hot, it’s better to open windows for a short period of time.
- If you have an air conditioner, use it in recirculation mode. Make sure your ventilation system is maintained following manufacturer recommendations (e.g., replace filters regularly). Use a portable air cleaner if available.
- Masks with the label “N95” or “N100” are the most effective types of mask that protect from wildfire smoke, but due to ongoing COVID-19 response those need to be reserved for health care and other frontline workers for now. While cloth face coverings are recommended to reduce the spread of COVID-19, they offer limited protection from air pollution. Learn more about face coverings and wildfire smoke on the American Lung Association website.
Check with your health care provider for more specific health questions and concerns. As always, seek medical attention if symptoms are serious.
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Washington State Department of Health
Public Health – Seattle & King County
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Washington Smoke blog
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City of Snoqualmie