With the local wildfire season now active, health officials encourage potentially affected Wyoming residents to be mindful of the potential health effects caused by wildfire smoke.
“Obviously, everyone knows to avoid flames when near a blaze,” said Dr. Tracy Murphy, Wyoming Department of Health state epidemiologist. “But that’s not the only danger. Wildfire smoke can hurt your eyes, aggravate respiratory problems and worsen the symptoms of heart or lung disease.”
“Everyone should use common sense when their local air is smoky and avoid heavy outdoor exercise,” Murphy said. “Those at-risk should be especially careful in limiting their smoke exposure.”
Murphy said people who have pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions, including allergies, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are especially susceptible to wildfire smoke’s ill effects. Older adults are more likely to be affected because they are more likely to have heart or lung disease, and children are vulnerable because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults.
Murphy said people staying indoors because of wildfire smoke should keep indoor air as clean as possible and offered the following suggestions:
*Try to keep windows and doors closed.
* Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean if you run an air conditioner.
* Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed.
*When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces or gas stoves.
*Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home.
*Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.