Reminder: Wearing face masks during wildfire event

Joe Rich fire near Kelowna bringing lots of smoke into the region; IH says not all masks work

With the Joe Rich fire bringing plenty of smoke into the Central Okanagan, here is some information from Interior Health about using face masks for protection against wildfire smoke.

According to Interior Health, paper dust masks found at retail stores do not provide protection from the particles found in smoke. Other specialized face masks known as N95 respirators can filter tiny particles out of inhaled air but they are not recommended in most circumstances for the following reasons:

· They must be properly fitted to each user to ensure protection. This process generally takes 20-30 minutes under the guidance of a professional with special equipment.

· Breathing is more challenging when wearing these masks, which is a concern for those with respiratory issues.

· There are no certified N95 respirators on the market designed to fit the faces of children.

· They stop working if saturated with water or sweat.

The exception to the above would be individuals who work outdoors. They may benefit from the use of N95 masks provided that they have been properly fitted by a professional.

The best thing people can do is monitor the air quality in their area, take the steps to reduce smoke exposure, and monitor their symptoms.

Actions to reduce smoke exposure:

· When at home ensure that air conditioners are on recirculate and consider using a portable air cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter or an electrostatic precipitator

· Keep windows and doors closed when possible

· Seek out public spaces with cleaner air, such as shopping malls or community centres

· Limit your time outside

· Reduce activity in smoky environments: the harder you breathe, the more smoke you inhale

· Stay cool, drink plenty of water

Smoke exposure is particularly a concern for those who have underlying medical conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, or diabetes. It is also a concern for pregnant women, infants, young children, and the elderly. When smoke levels become very high, even healthy people can be affected and everyone should be monitoring their systems and taking appropriate action to protect their health.

Symptoms to monitor:

· Difficulty breathing

· Chest pain and discomfort

· Coughing

· Irritated eyes, nose, and throat

If you are experiencing symptoms and are concerned contact your health care provider or walk- in clinic. If your symptoms are severe, seek emergency medical attention.

Just Posted

New multi-million baggage system up and running at YLW

Kelowna Airport’s $39 million outbound baggage system can handle 900 bags an hour

New safety doors aim to protect transit drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

Death and fire not treated as suspicious

RCMP has turned the invesigation of Monday’s fire on Gaggin Road over to the BC Coroners Service

Reworked plan for Kelowna’s Green Square development approved

After rejecting first version of residential development expansion, council says yes to new plan

Police searching for GoPro owner

Police are looking for the owner of a GoPro seized by police in Kelowna

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Penticton Indian Band selects five new councillors

PIB aiming for internal reconciliation after by-election

Chiefs ground Rockets in Spokane

Former Rockets’ head coach Dan Lambert leads his Chiefs past Kelowna Wednesday in WHL action

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Two types of civic engagement in PIB

Some voted in the byelection, others protested the polls, as Penticton Indian Band fissures continue

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

Most Read