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Posted on: July 25, 2019

Protective measures against wildfire smoke impacts

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Smoke from the Museum Fire is impacting several Flagstaff communities.

Coconino County Health and Human Services is encouraging individuals to take precautions to protect themselves from the health effects of wildfire smoke.

Anyone who can see, taste or smell smoke, including healthy individuals, should limit outdoor activity. Many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke. These factors include the level, extent, duration of exposure, age and individual susceptibility. People with heart disease, lung disease or asthma should avoid the outdoors entirely when smoke is present, as should children and the elderly.

Typical symptoms of exposure to smoke include burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, dizziness and nausea.

Closing windows and turning off evaporative coolers when smoke is present helps to reduce exposure and should be adequate to protect persons without respiratory problems. People with pre-existing conditions should avoid exposure to the smoke as much as possible and consult their physician if they have any questions.

When smoke levels are high, the appropriate protective measures should be followed:

  • Avoid physical exertion.

Stay inside with windows and doors closed.

Make sure air conditioning units have a clean filter in the air intakes. Devices with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can reduce indoor pollution.

Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.

Avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves or even candles.

For more information about how to protect yourself visit www.coconino.az.gov/health.

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