British Columbians must be aware of the health risks of smoky air caused by wildfires, the BC Centre for Disease Control warns. (Black Press Media file photo)

Limit your exposure to wildfire smoke, BCCDC urges

During wildfire season, almost everyone in Burns Lake faces the health dangers of exposure to smoke.

As the May 11 fire near Fraser Lake demonstrated, the season is here and it’s time to consider how inhaling smoke can affect us.

LOOK BACK: Fire breaks out near Fraser Lake

“Preparing for wildfire season is incredibly important,” said Sarah Henderson, a Senior Scientist with Environmental Health Services at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, in a press release. “The more people we can get talking about the effects of smoke from wildfires, the better.”

The summers of 2015, and 2017-2018 were the worst on record for wildfires in the province.

“It’s really got people’s attention,” Henderson said. “Based on what’s happened over the past few years, wildfire smoke will begin to dominate our lifetime exposure to air pollution. We need to prepare – and prepare early — for every wildfire season with the thought that it may be the worse season ever.”

Wildfire smoke contains a mix of gases including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause damage.

Inhaling the smoke makes it harder for the lungs to get oxygen into the bloodstream, can irritate the respiratory system and lead to inflammation in other parts of the body, and raise the risk of some infections, like pneumonia in older people and ear infections in children.

Certain groups, such as pregnant women, the elderly and young children and infants should especially try to avoid exposure to wildfire smoke. People with chronic conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and other lung and heart problems should also reduce their exposure.

Though there might be a lot of smoke around during wildfire season, there are ways to limit exposure.

Consider buying a portable air cleaner with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. They can take a lot of smoke particles from indoor air.

Community centres, libraries and malls usually have cool, filtered air that offer a break from the smoke outside.

When driving keep the windows shut, the air conditioner on and set the air on recirculate to limit the inflow of outdoor air.

Try to exercise indoors because the harder you breathe the more smoke you inhale. Drink lots of water to help the body cope with the smoke.

People who work outdoors should consult resources from WorkSafe BC.

For more information, check out the BCCDC’s resources on the health effects of wildfire smoke, how to prepare for the wildfire smoke season and options for portable air cleaners.

Just Posted

New meat truck in town

Priestly Meats shows off its new meat truck, set up beside Tech… Continue reading

Celebrating fall in Burns Lake

Dozens of residents came out for the Fall Festival at Wild Roots… Continue reading

No timeline for ultrasound in Burns Lake, NH says

Northern Health (NH) is considering introducing ultrasound technology to the Lakes District… Continue reading

Burns Lake biathlete wins grant again

Biathlete Emily Dickson, formerly of Burns Lake was selected on Oct. 7… Continue reading

Donation for a hot cause

The Burns Lake Fire Training Society (BLFTS) received a donation of $3,917… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. man’s yard comes alive with grizzlies at night

Malakwa man has captured images of 12 different grizzlies on video

A year after pot legalization in Canada, it’s a slow roll

It’s one year into Canada’s experiment in legal marijuana, and hundreds of legal pot shops have opened

ELECTION 2019: Climate strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Private insurers say claims record monopoly keeps them out

B.C. principal suspended for failing to help student who reported inappropriate touching

Principal didn’t remove student from the teacher’s class nor call the parents within a reasonable time

Port Moody mayor goes back on unpaid leave during sex assault investigation

Rob Vagramov said he intends to return as mayor in three or four weeks

UBC issues statement after instructor tells students to vote for Liberal Party

University says partisan messaging was not intentional

Cowichan Valley brothers win big in lottery for second time

Playing same numbers net big wins over a three year period

Fatal overdoses down by 33% in B.C., but carfentanil deaths continue to spike

Carfentanil, an illicit drug more powerful than fentanyl, causing more deaths than ever

Most Read