Just look out your window: one could mistake our once green and lush landscape for Beijing or Manila. Our beautiful mountains have been blocked by dark, dreary and ominous clouds of wildfire smoke.
There have been a number of social media reports of Metro Vancouver residents having a hard time seeing through and breathing the haze.
Those who have pre-existing respiratory issues are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the wildfire smoke. These symptoms include sore eyes, tears, cough and a runny nose.
Here are some tips on how to prevent breathing in too much smoke:
1. Wear a mask
Although it’s not the most effective, wearing a dust mask is the simplest thing to do. The standard dust masks are designed for bigger particles like sawdust but there are some available for smaller particles like special N95 or P100 respirator masks.
2. Stay inside and keep your windows and doors closed
Staying inside is the best way to prevent yourself from breathing in harmful smoke. If you have an air-conditioner, set the device to “re-circulate” so that dirty air from outside is not pulled in.
If you can’t take the heat and you lack an air-conditioner, consider going somewhere cool and indoors like a shopping centre, library, community centre or to the cinema.
3. There’s already enough smoke in the air
Don’t light any candles or incense sticks, don’t smoke inside your house and don’t use your fireplace. All of these will just add to the effects.
4. Re-circulate air in your car
If you’re driving, keep your windows closed and put your air system on re-circulate.
5. Don’t exercise outdoors
You should avoid any strenuous outdoor activities, even if you have a soccer game, tennis match or want to go for a jog. Consider indoor exercising activities.
If your kids have outdoor activities at school or summer camps, prevent them from participating. Kids, elderly and those with heart or lung condition are at the most risk.
6. Air out your home
When the smoke dissipates, you should air out your entire house to clean out any trapped pollutants still in the house.