Lingering smoke from local wildfires have contributed to the province of British Columbia issuing a smoky skies bulletin for all of Vancouver Island.
If not already noticeable, wildfire smoke is expected to impact your area over the next 24-48 hours from Victoria to Port Hardy, Nanaimo to Tofino.
During a wildfire, smoke conditions can quickly change over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour.
People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants and children are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure.
READ MORE: Feds send help to B.C. to battle wildfires
Here are some helpful tips:
Follow your common sense
- Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes difficult or you feel unwell.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
- Carry any rescue medications with you at all times.
- Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the
- same advice.
Monitor your symptoms
- Different people have different responses to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.
- People with asthma or other chronic illness should activate the personal care plans they have designed with their family physicians.
- If you are unsure whether you need medical care, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
- If you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, or a severe cough, contact your health care provider, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.
- If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
Tips to reduce your exposure
- Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
- Running a commercially available HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
- If you have a forced air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
- Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
- Consider going to a library, community center, or shopping mall with cooler filtered air to get some relief from the smoke.
- If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
- If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.