(HealthDay)—Wildfire activity continues to increase throughout the western states, as well as in Alaska, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas, but there are steps those living in wild fire areas can take to minimize smoke exposure.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoke from wildfires can be harmful to eyes and respiratory systems, even for healthy individuals, but poses an extra threat to those with chronic cardiovascular and lung diseases.
The CDC makes the following recommendations to limit smoke exposure. First, pay attention to local air quality reports and the U.S. Air Quality Index, including warnings about spending time outdoors. Additionally, the agency advises those impacted by smoke keep their indoor air as clean as possible, by closing windows and doors, running an air conditioner with the fresh-air intake closed, and cleaning the air conditioner filter to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Dust masks from hardware stores will not keep smoke out, only large particles.
The CDC suggests that people with asthma or another lung disease or cardiovascular disease should follow their doctor's advice about medicines and a respiratory management plan.
Explore further: Protecting your health from wildfire smoke
National Interagency Fire Center