The Washington State Department of Health is warning people of degrading air quality in parts of Washington affected by wildfires and encouraging them to take extra precautions.
In a news release, the department recommends those living in areas experiencing poor air quality try to stay indoors, avoid taxing outdoor activities and keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.
The Olympic Region Clean Air Agency measures the air quality of Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Mason, Pacific and Thurston counties. According to the agency, Thurston County currently has “good” air with an air quality index value of 18. Air quality is considered “good” up to a value of 50.
But in some areas of Eastern Washington, pollution has made the air unsafe, like in Wenatchee, which has an “unhealthy” air quality index value of 156.
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The Department of Health advises residents to stay hydrated and to stay away from anything that could further pollute the air like smoking, using candles or vacuuming.
The department also proposed turning on fans or air conditioning when it’s hot and setting air conditioning to recirculate. If you don’t have air conditioning, go to somewhere that does, like the library.
Inhaling wildfire smoke can induce a wide range of symptoms, such as headache, sore throat, chest pain and coughing. It especially increases health risks for children, people over 65, pregnant women and people already experiencing other health conditions.
To check the air quality of your area, or to see if it’s experiencing a burn ban click here.