BC’s top doctor offered some health advice to help British Colombians cope with the burning season.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said smoky conditions can be a problem, especially for those with conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
She said wearing a mask can offer some form of protection against any particles.
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“The three-layer cloth or disposable masks we’ve used for COVID can also help prevent inhalation of some of the larger particles, especially and can help when you need to be outside under continuous smoke,” Henry said.
Henry noted that those considering wearing a mask should be careful about overheating.
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“It finds that balance,” she said. “For some people, wearing a mask in smoke will only increase their breathing work too much.”
The BC Center for Disease Control has offered guidance on masks and fire smoke.
Henry noted that people need to balance the need for clean air with the need to be cool during hot weather.
She noted that people should consider keeping their windows closed to keep smoke out if they can maintain a reasonable temperature in their home. Henry said people can seek air conditioning in places like libraries, community centers and malls.
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“For most people, overheating is much more dangerous than breathing in,” Henry said.
Henry also urged people to get their COVID-19 vaccine if they were forced to move to a wildfire evacuation center.
“Now is the time to make sure you are vaccinated if you have not yet been vaccinated against COVID,” she said. “If you have to evacuate and you have to be with the elderly or in a reception center during a period when other people are also, it is important that we protect both ourselves and each other.”
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