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Breathing Wildfire Smoke Puts Kids and People at Risk

 

As the California wildfires rage, the San Francisco Bay Area is seeing some of the worst air quality ever recorded in the area. If you are in the affected area, take precautions to protect you and your family from the poor air quality. Smoke in the air can contain tiny particles that can get into your lungs and irritate your eyes, nose, throat and lungs.

Poor air quality can worsen asthma symptoms. Children and those with respiratory disease are at high risk for asthma episodes when the air quality is poor. Check your local air quality at AirNow.gov.

Here are some ways you can protect yourself and your family during and after the fires:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and reduce physical activity.
  • Carry your quick-relief medicine with you wherever you go.
  • If you must go outdoors, wear a mask with a particulate respirator. Look for NIOSH and N95 or P100 printed on the mask. It should have two straps and should cover your nose and chin.
  • Keep children in areas with cleaner air. Masks with particulate respirators are not recommended for children because they may not fit properly.
  • If you have to clean up ash on your property, wear a mask with a particulate respirator. Wash your clothes and shower as soon as possible after exposure.
  • Keep children away from areas with ash until it has been cleaned.
  • Polluted outdoor air can find its way into your home. Improve your indoor air quality to keep the outside air from affecting your inside air as much as possible.
  • If your home has water damage, take steps to protect yourself from mold.


Smoke and ash contain harmful particles that can irritate even healthy lungs. The impact on those with asthma can be serious. As those in the affected and surrounding areas take steps to prevent asthma symptoms, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the wildfires. 

How Can You Help Those Affected?

There is a great need for masks and most local suppliers are sold out. If you would like to donate masks to the area, you can through one of these Amazon wish lists. These are provided by local volunteers and are not affiliated with AAFA.


Most of the local shelters and food banks are at capacity and not currently accepting donations of goods. NBC Bay Area is keeping an up to date list of the current needs.

We will keep this blog updated as we learn of additional needs or ways to help. Join our community to follow our blog to receive the updates. 

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Comments (9)

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Hi Jen,

My sinuses were still reacting to particulates.  Since the ash settled everywhere, it was stirred up by the wind.  My friends also reported having sinus issues.  Until it rained, I avoided spending much time outdoors.

Deb

I am in Oakland and the smoke was so bad here that I stayed indoors for a week, with the house sealed and the air purifier on.  When asthma symptoms started, I would use acupressure points to prevent attacks from progressing.  It works amazingly well.

I was out in Oregon recently visiting my father. The Eagle creek wildfire started while I was visiting. 50 days without rain, heat waves and wildfire was started by a teenager and fireworks. A shame. But I didn’t let it ruin my visit. My  dad doesn’t have air conditioning and it made it a little more difficult to sleep at night but they had a ton of fans so that was helpful. I also doubled up on my allergy meds in inhaler so I didn’t have any flare surprisingly well I was out there! We even took a few trips out to see Mount St. Helens and some other beautiful spots. 

My heart goes out to all the people in harm's way, and all of the brave firefighters who are putting their lives on the line to fight these fires! 

If you're affected by these wildfires, don't forget to check into our "disaster prep" topic and let us know how you're doing!

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