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Health Advisory: Unhealthy Air Quality Guidance for Healthcare Providers

By August 4, 2017 No Comments

Background

Wildfire smoke from areas of Washington and British Columbia is affecting air quality in Pierce County and is expected to continue for several days. Due to the unhealthy conditions, an air quality alert has been issued. Please refer to the attached State Department of Health’s Air Pollution advisory tool for current information on the health effects of air pollution and precautions to take.

The most recent air quality information is available through the Washington Department of Ecology’s Air Monitoring Network fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/.

Important Reminders

During times of unhealthy air quality everyone may begin to experience health effects and members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Health effects include worsening of heart or lung disease, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, coughing, eye and sinus irritation. People most at risk of health effects from poor air quality include:

  • People with heart disease and lung disease, such as asthma and COPD.
  • Adults over age 65.
  • Children and infants.
  • Diabetics.
  • Smokers.
  • People with respiratory infections, such as cold or flu.

The State Department of Health recommends that youth outdoor events be canceled during times of unhealthy and very unhealthy air quality.

Patient Recommendations

  • Avoid physical exertion and stay indoors as much as possible.
  • Keep doors and windows closed.
  • Run an air conditioner (if you have one) and set it to re-circulate.
  • A HEPA air cleaner can help. Avoid air cleaners with ionizing or electrostatic features.
  • If you must be outdoors for extended periods of time during unhealthy, very unhealthy, or hazardous air quality, consider wearing a particulate respirator. Please visit: doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334- 353.pdf for more information.