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10 Ways to prepare for an emergency

  • Wildfire smoke and your health

Published on September 10, 2020

Wildfire smoke and your health

With multiple fires occurring around Monterey County, the air quality is poor and can affect your health. Here is some guidance from Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula on what you can do to help minimize its effects:

Smoke can irritate the lungs, nose, throat, and eyes and can cause coughing, wheezing, and other breathing problems.

For those with the following conditions, the risk of health issues related to wildfire smoke increases:

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Other lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • And those who are over the age of 65, pregnant, or young children

All community members should take steps to minimize smoke inhalation by taking these steps if possible:

  • Limit physical activity, especially outdoors
  • Keep all doors and windows closed at all times. Keep indoor smoke to a minimum by not smoking, cooking meat, and burning wood in stoves/fireplaces
  • Use central air conditioning if you have it
  • Use air purifiers with HEPA filters to decrease the particles in the air in your home
  • Keep windows up in your car when driving and set your fan to recirculate the air instead of bringing in air from the outside
  • Wear a mask outdoors. N95 masks work best for keeping particles out, but are in short supply

For those who are at greater health risk, traveling to an area with better air quality is recommended if the air quality is hazardous in the area.

Please call your doctor or visit the hospital if your symptoms are severe. In a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.

If not an immediate medical emergency, and you don’t want to leave your home, call your doctor, or visit Montage Health’s eVisit program to have your health reviewed by a doctor.

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