Smoke Exposure and Health Prolonged exposure to smoke can be harmful to people of all ages. Smoke can eventually damage your body's ability to remove large particles and excess phlegm from your lungs and airway. Small particles (PM 2.5) pose the greatest risk, because they can get deep into your lungs, and even into your bloodstream.
Symptoms of smoke exposure usually include irritation of eyes, nose, and throat or breathing discomfort, even in otherwise healthy people. More severe symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider for further advice or call 911.
Who's the Most at Risk? Take precautions at appropriate AQI level if you are in a sensitive group:
Run an air conditioner if you have one. Keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean. Use a high-efficiency filter with HEPA or MERV 13 or higher rating. Air purifiers and filters can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.
Fine particles, but not hazardous gases, can be filtered with an N95 or N100 face mask. These masks can be found at your local pharmacy or hardware store.
Consider leaving the area if you are sensitive and smoke is an ongoing problem.
Call your healthcare provider for further advice if your symptoms worsen.
Prepare for Wildfire Season Ashland residents live in a fire-prone environment and need to prepare for wildfire every year to protect our community and our health. If you have heart, vascular or lung disease, including asthma, talk with your healthcare provider before fire season to make plans. Discuss when to leave the area, how much medicine to have on hand, and your action plan if you know you may have issues. Have a several-day supply of nonperishable foods that do not require cooking. Cooking - especially frying and broiling - can add to indoor pollution levels.Heating and Cooling (HVAC) Equipment and Recommendations