Air Quality Update: Saturday, November 19

Air Quality Update: Saturday, November 19

The air quality forecast for Saturday, November 19 is Code Orange, or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Children, older adults, active people, and those with heart disease or respiratory conditions (like asthma) should limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. However, air conditions may vary throughout the day and across the county. Use your own observations to determine how the smoke is affecting air quality in your immediate area. If you can see haze and smell smoke, then air quality is not good and you should limit your outdoor activities. You can also use this guide from the N.C. Division of Air Quality to estimate air pollution based on visibility ranges. Visibility data are available from the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov/gsp.       WHAT CAN I DO TO STAY SAFE? Check local air quality reports. Visit www.ncair.org for daily updates on air quality. Limit physical activity. Increased physical activity requires people to breathe faster, breath deeper, and take in more air—and therefore, more air pollution—into their lungs. You can reduce the amount of time you are breathing hard, take more frequent breaks, and reduce how hard you are working or exercising. Stay inside and keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run your HVAC if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air. Follow the advice of your...
Air Quality Update: Friday, November 18

Air Quality Update: Friday, November 18

The air quality forecast for Friday, November 18 is Code Red, or “Unhealthy” conditions. All people should limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. Children, older adults, active people, and those with heart disease or respiratory conditions (like asthma) may experience more serious health effects. Air conditions may vary throughout the day and from one location to another within the county. Therefore, your own observations will be the best guide for determining how the smoke is affecting air quality in your immediate area. If you can see haze and smell smoke, then air quality is not good and you should limit your outdoor activities. WHAT SHOULD I DO? Check local air quality reports. Visit www.ncair.org for daily updates on air quality. You can also use the following guide from the N.C. Division of Air Quality to estimate air pollution based on visibility ranges. Limit physical activity. Increased physical activity requires people to breathe faster, breathe deeper, and take in more air—and therefore, more air pollution—into their lungs. You can reduce the amount of time you are breathing hard, take more frequent breaks, and reduce how hard you are working or exercising. Stay inside and keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run your HVAC system if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Avoid activities that increase pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also puts even more pollution into the air. Follow the advice of...

Air Quality Update: Wednesday, November 16

Follow these public health recommendations to protect your health from wildfire smoke. The air quality forecast for Wednesday, November 16, in Transylvania County is Code Orange, or “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Children, older adults, active people, and those with heart disease or respiratory conditions (like asthma) should limit prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors on Wednesday. It may be okay to be outside for short activities, but people should continue to take breaks and watch for symptoms. SHOULD I BE USING A FACE MASK? Some recent reports have suggested the use of respirators and dust masks as protection from smoky air conditions. For most people, filtering face masks will provide little if any protection, and may offer the wearer a false sense of protection. For people with heart and respiratory diseases, respirator use can actually be dangerous and should not be worn without a doctor’s supervision. Filtering respirators and masks can make the work of breathing more difficult, leading to increased breathing rates and heart rates. Dust masks (with one strap) are made to filter large particles, like sawdust, and will provide no protection against the fine particles found in wildfire smoke. Covering the nose and mouth with a wet or dry bandanna or a tissue also provides no protection against fine particles. Surgical masks are designed to prevent the spread of illness from the wearer to others, and will not protect against smoke particles, either. N95 respirators (with two straps) may filter out some of the fine particles that may be found in smoke, but only if there is a proper fit to the wearer’s face. They will not...
Public Health Officials Issue Recommendations Due To Air Quality Concerns

Public Health Officials Issue Recommendations Due To Air Quality Concerns

The forecast for Monday, November 14, 2016, calls for Code Red or “Unhealthy” conditions in the far southwestern part of North Carolina, including Transylvania County. This poses a health risk for all people, with a higher risk for children, older adults, and those with heart and lung conditions, including asthma. Public health officials recommend that people monitor air quality conditions and “take it easy” or limit physical activity on days when the air quality conditions are Code Orange or higher. Fine particles, like those that come from wildfires and burning wood, can penetrate deeply into the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream, causing or aggravating heart and lung diseases. Symptoms of exposure to high particle levels include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest pain or tightness; shortness of breath and asthma attacks. High particle levels—as seen on days with Code Orange or higher conditions—can impair breathing and aggravate symptoms in people with heart and respiratory problems, and irritate the lungs in healthy individuals. People with chronic lung and heart ailments, as well as children and older adults, should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. Increased physical activity requires people to breathe faster, breathe deeper, take in more air—and therefore, more air pollution—into their lungs. Any activity that raises the breathing rate increases the health risk. With Code Red conditions like those expected on Monday, most people don’t need to stay indoors, but should take frequent breaks and reduce the intensity of physical activity outdoors. However, certain groups of people may be more sensitive to air pollution from fine particles and may need to take extra precautions....