ORLANDO– The Orange County Health Department would like to remind residents and visitors to limit exposure to the smoke from wildfires and to be mindful of health problems associated with long term exposures.
“Smoke from brush fires is a respiratory irritant that can cause scratchy throat or irritated eyes and nose. Those affected by asthma and other chronic respiratory or lung conditions should take precautions to limit exposure to the smoke to avoid aggravating the condition,” said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Orange County Health Department.
Poor air quality conditions that last for days may be causing those in a sensitive population to be adversely affected. The sensitive population includes the elderly; people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or other respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema; people with heart disease; and some children. Outdoor workers and those who participate in vigorous outdoor exercise may be also be at risk.
How to protect your family from smoke:
- Pay attention to local air quality reports, news coverage or health warnings related to smoke.
- Use common sense when outside conditions are smoky. Avoid prolonged outdoor activities. It is especially important to limit time spent outdoors for children and persons with existing medical conditions.
- Stay indoors and run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside. For best results, run the air conditioning with recirculated air.
Note: If you do not have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
- Help keep particle levels lower inside. When smoke levels are high, try to avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, gas stoves and even candles. Do not vacuum, which stirs up particles already inside your home. Also do not smoke tobacco.
- Follow your doctor’s advice about taking medicines and following your asthma management plan if you have asthma or other lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
These recommendations should remain in effect until more favorable air quality returns. For more information, contact your doctor or visit the Orange County Health Department at www.orchd.com or the Department of Environmental Protection at http://appprod.dep.state.fl.us/air/flaqs/ozn_mapgen.asp.