Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Smoky Air and extreme heat could cause Health Problems

County public health officials want to remind people across the state to take precautions as smoke from multiple wildfires around Oregon and Washington affects the air quality.  The combination of high temperatures and wildfire smoke around the area may increase the risk of illness especially for older adults, young children, and people with asthma, respiratory, or heart conditions.  

Public health officials urge all residents to take the following precautions to avoid health problems during hot, smoky conditions.

  • Reduce the amount of time spent outdoors. This can usually provide some protection, especially in a tightly closed, air-conditioned house in which the air conditioner can be set to re-circulate air instead of bringing in outdoor air.
  • Reduce the amount of time engaged in vigorous outdoor physical activity. This can be an important and effective strategy to decrease exposure to inhaled air pollutants and minimize health risks during a smoke event.
  • Reduce other sources of indoor air pollution such as burning cigarettes and candles; using gas, propane, and wood burning stoves and furnaces; cooking; and vacuuming.
  • Individuals with heart disease or lung diseases such as asthma should follow their health care providers’ advice about prevention and treatment of symptoms.

Also things to consider:
  • Remember to stay hydrated.  Drink between 2-4 cups of water per hour if working outdoors.  
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or more 10 minutes before going out; re-apply every two hours.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers to lower your body temperature.
  • Never leave infants, children, or pets in a parked car.
  • Always wear a life jacket if you are on the water. Remember to be safe around water.
  • Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Know symptoms of Heat Exhaustion (heavy sweating, weakness, pale and clammy, fainting and vomiting).
  • Know symptoms of Heat Stroke (high body temperature, hot and dry skin, rapid pulse) and call for help.

For more information about your community’s air quality, visit:   http://airnow.gov/
For air quality advisories from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, visit: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

From the Oregon Health Authority:
  • Local public health agencies can access the Oregon Public Health Division “Crisis and Emergency Communication Toolkit for Extreme Heat”:

From CDC:
  • Heat information and the tools for specific audiences, including people aged 65 and older, infants and children, people with chronic medical conditions, low income, outdoor workers, and athletes. Documents are also available in Spanish:

Additional Resources on Extreme Heat:

• National Weather Service Heat Alerts: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/heat/ww.shtml


For more information please contact:
Vicky Ryan
Crook County Public Information Officer
Crook County Health and Human Services / Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
541-233-8504 – Work Cell


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