Tips to stay healthy while wildfire smoke raises air quality alerts

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is providing tips to help people stay healthy while current weather patterns push smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada into communities across the Commonwealth, increasing the average concentrations of fine particulate matter in the air.

The Department of Environmental Protection has declared a Code Red Air Quality Action Day for fine particulate matter for Wednesday June 7, 2023, for the entire state of Pennsylvania.

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“Many of us really enjoy spending time outside, however, while the smoke from Canadian wildfires is affecting our air quality, we need to consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, Acting Secretary of Health. “For the next day or two, I encourage people to limit time outside, especially if you are sensitive to poor air quality.”

All Pennsylvanians are encouraged to: Avoid strenuous outdoor activities. Keep outdoor activities short. Consider moving physical activities indoors or rescheduling them.

Tips to help keep particle pollution lower indoors: Don’t use candles or smoke indoors. Keep windows and doors closed. If you have an air filter in your home, now is a good time to use it. Clean or replace filters according to manufacturer recommendations. If you don’t have one and want to make your own portable air cleaner designed to reduce particles indoors, the EPA offers DIY information.

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Air quality can affect your health, especially people who may be at greater risk, including: People with heart disease. People with lung disease, including asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Older adults. Children and teenagers because their lungs are still developing, and they breathe more air relative to their size. People who are pregnant. People who work outdoors.

If you experience symptoms like trouble breathing or dizziness, you should seek medical attention. If you know a family member or neighbor who has one of the above conditions, remember to check in on them.

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