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County Public Health issues smoke health advisory
October 28, 2019
SOLANO COUNTY – Solano Public Health is issuing a Smoke Health Advisory due to continued heavy smoke throughout Solano County from multiple fires in the region.
Parts of Solano County are potentially experiencing unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality levels. According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, these conditions are expected to persist, at least through Thursday, because there is so much smoke trapped at the surface and surrounding the region.
The best option is to stay indoors with windows and doors closed. Wildfire smoke contains very small particulate matter that is breathed deep into the lungs. This form of air pollution is linked to several health problems, including coughing, wheezing, reduced lung function, asthma attacks, and potentially, heart attacks and strokes. It can also possibly have long-term health impacts. Additionally, wildfire smoke may contain unknown chemicals and particles from manmade materials that have burned (like homes, cars, etc.).
"As much as possible, we recommend that you limit outdoor activity, even if you are healthy," said Solano County Health Officer Dr. Bela Matyas. “If you see or smell smoke outdoors, please stay indoors and close your windows and doors to avoid exposure.”
Some groups of people are more sensitive to the adverse health effects of wildfire smoke and should take additional precautions as necessary. These include:
- People with heart disease
- People with lung disease, including asthma and COPD
- Young children and older adults
- People with obesity
- Expectant or new mothers
Children are especially at risk for health effects from exposure to wildfire smoke and ash, mostly because their lungs are still growing. Children who breathe in wildfire smoke and ash can have chest pain and tightness; trouble breathing; wheezing; coughing; nose, throat, and eye burning; dizziness; or other symptoms. Children with asthma, allergies, or chronic health issues may have more trouble breathing when smoke or ash is present.
Follow these tips to decrease your exposure to wildfire smoke:
- Minimize outdoor activities. This is especially important if you have health concerns (such as heart disease or asthma), are elderly, pregnant, or have a child in your care.
- Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed as much as possible
- At home or in your car, run your air-conditioner on 'recycle' or ‘recirculate.’ Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside
- For people who must work outside, drink lots of water and check with your employer about taking more frequent breaks
- Monitor your local air quality report on Airnow.gov for information about the latest air quality conditions by zip code
The Solano County Health Officer does not generally recommend use of N95 respirator masks for the smoke. These masks are only recommended for those near the fire who do not have the option to be indoors or have access to filtered/recirculated air. There are potential health risks associated with using N95 respirator masks for many people; also, if the masks are not properly fit-tested, they will not perform the intended function. N95 masks can make it more difficult for the wearer to breathe, increasing the stress on the heart and lungs. For additional masking recommendations visit https://bit.ly/2Nl7e0k
Contact your healthcare provider if you or someone in your care experiences symptoms related to smoke exposure, such as repeated coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.