Ash falls from the sky, smoke lingers in the Okanagan

AQHI readings for the Okanagan weren’t too significant

Ash rained on the Okanagan overnight, courtesy of the many fires burning up forests south of the border.

Despite the valley’s new chalky covering, the Air Quality Health Index rating for the area hasn’t dipped.

From Lumby to Osoyoos the rating was sitting at three, which is a low risk to infants, the elderly and people with health complications and of little concern to the rest of the population.

That said, the smoky skies advisory issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior and Northern Health Authorities is still in place.

They recommend avoiding strenuous outdoor activities. If anyone is experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways, they should call a health care provider.

Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk. Stay inside if you have breathing difficulties.

Find an indoor place that’s cool and ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help. If you open the windows you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is air-conditioned.

Visit airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.