Protect Against Wildfire Smoke


Protect Against Wildfire Smoke
Photo: Georgia Forestry Commission


Due to smoky conditions that may occur in your area because of wildfire, public health officials of the North Georgia Health District urge residents to take precautions.

Smoke from a brushfire or wildfire is a mix of gases and particles from burning vegetation and other materials that can be harmful even to people who are healthy if there is enough smoke in the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including:

■ 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
■ Fast heartbeat

Older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions may be more likely to get sick if they breathe in wildfire smoke.

If possible, limit your exposure to smoke. Here are some tips to help you protect your health:

When a brushfire or wildfire occurs in your area, watch for news or health warnings about smoke.

■ If you are told to stay indoors, stay indoors and keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed unless it is very hot outside. Run an air conditioner if you have one - seek shelter elsewhere if you do not and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed.

■ Follow your doctor's advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

■ Avoid smoke exposure during outdoor recreation.

For more information about protecting against wildfires, log onto the CDC website.