Christie Mountain wildfire, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 (Daniel Sltwg / Facebook)

Air quality advisory issued for South Okanagan

Many communities are expected to be impacted by smoke from the Christie Mountain wildfire

The province of British Columbia has issued an air quality advisory for the South Okanagan in light of the Christie Mountain wildfire.

Air quality is likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 48 hours in Penticton, Summerland, Naramata, Keremeos, Oliver and Osoyoos.

READ MORE: RDOS, City of Penticton, BC Wildfire hold press conference on Christie Mountain wildfire

An air quality advisory is issued when pollutant concentrations approach or exceed predetermined limits, or when degraded-air-quality episodes are expected to continue or worsen.

During smoky conditions it is advised to take the following precautions:

  • Stop or reduce your activity level if breathing becomes uncomfortable or you feel unwell.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you have asthma or other chronic illness, carry any rescue (fast-acting) medications with you at all times and activate your personal care plan that has been designed with your family physician.
  • Make sure that children and others who cannot care for themselves follow the same advice.
  • Monitor your symptoms
  • People respond differently to smoke. Mild irritation and discomfort are common, and usually disappear when the smoke clears.

Tips to reduce your smoke exposure :

  • Smoke levels may be lower indoors but will still be elevated, so stay aware of your symptoms even when you are indoors.
  • Running a commercially available HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter can improve indoor air quality in the room where the device is located.
  • If you have a forced-air heating/cooling system in your home, it may help to change the filter and set the fan to run continuously.
  • Reduce indoor air pollution sources such as smoking, burning incense, and frying foods.
  • If travelling in a car with air conditioning, keep the windows up and the ventilation set to recirculate.
  • If you are very sensitive to smoke, consider moving to another location with cleaner air, but be aware that conditions can change rapidly.

Exposure to wildfire smoke and the virus that causes COVID-19 can both result in respiratory symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing.

If you are experiencing difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, or a severe cough, the provincial government advises you to contact your health care provider, walk-in clinic, or emergency department.

If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.

If you are unsure whether you need medical care, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine whether you need further assessment or testing.

READ MORE: Forecasted winds may pose threat as Christie Mountain Wildfire grows to 2,000 hectares



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

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