Wildfire smoke can be as bad as smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day, so it’s not difficult to imagine that this summer’s wildfire season could potentially be very difficult for those who are sensitive to poor air quality.
Groups sensitive to poor air quality include children younger than 18 and adults older than 65.
“Wildfires are a problem for sensitive groups,” Clark County Public Health Officer Dr. Alan Melnick said in an article in The Columbian. “The more wildfires we have, if it becomes more frequent, it will become more difficult particularly for the more vulnerable among us.”
Smoke from summer 2018 many people to the hospital. On just one day in August 2018 PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, saw 25 patients who were treated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma issues.
Health officials want to spread the word that it’s important for sensitive people to stay indoors and away from strenuous, prolonged outdoor activity during unhealthy air quality days. It’s also a good idea to set air conditioning to circulate indoor air.
Even for people who aren’t sensitive, it’s still best to limit outdoor activity when the air is particularly poor.
“None of this stuff is good for you,” Melnick concluded.