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Who are most at risk of being impacted by wildfire smoke?

  • People with chronic respiratory issues and other chronic conditions (diabetes, cancer, heart disease)

  • Seniors

  • Infants and young children

  • Pregnant women

  • People who work outdoors


How does wildfire smoke impact people?

  • Makes it harder to get O2 into the lungs

  • Can irritate the lungs and airways

  • Can cause inflammation in the lungs and airways

  • Can alter immune function, making it more difficult to fight off respiratory infections 


What can people do to protect themselves from the impacts of wildfire smoke?

  • Use portable air cleaners

  • Stay indoors and keep windows closed

  • Put on “recirculate” function for HVAC systems

  • Seek cooler, clean spaces like libraries and malls

  • Don’t drive with windows down, and choose recirculate option in car air conditioning

  • Reduce exercise and drink lots of water

  • Anyone with chronic lung conditions, ensure they have rescue inhalers on hand at all times

  • N95 masks (respirator masks) can help filter out particulate

  • Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and any air quality warnings before venturing outside


What kids of symptoms could people have from wildfire smoke?


Mild symptoms can include: headaches, mild cough, runny nose, phlegm, eye nose and throat irritation (all managed without medical intervention)


Serious symptoms can include: dizziness, chest pains, severe cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and heart palpitations.


What should people do if they are experiencing symptoms from wildfire smoke?

Mild symptoms will normally go away on their own. For serious symptoms, people should check with their healthcare provider or seek urgent medical attention


Other facts:


  • Woodfire smoke can travel 1000s of KMs and linger for weeks. Even if you cant see it, woodsmoke could be impacting your area & your lungs

  • Most mild symptoms from woodfire smoke will clear up when the air quality improves

  • In BC during wildfire season, particulate levels can be 20 times higher than normal

  • Woodsmoke can also contain carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxides, and VOCs

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