Video: Air quality rating around the Okanagan takes a dip

Throat feeling a little scratchy this morning?

UPDATE: 3 p.m.

A special air quality statement is in effect for the entire Okanagan, from Osoyoos to Lumby.

As of 3 p.m., the air quality rating is sitting at a 4, which is a moderate risk to healthy people.

We hit the streets in Kelowna to hear from you about how the smoke is impacting your day.

ORIGINAL: 7 a.m.

Throat feeling a little itchy this morning? It’s because the air quality is taking a bit of a turn due to the many fires surrounding the valley.

A special air quality statement is in effect for the entire Okanagan, from Osoyoos to Lumby. When the sun rose above the hills on Thursday, the rating sat at a 3, which is a low risk to healthy people. It’s expected to get a bit smoggier throughout the day.

“During a wildfire, smoke conditions can change quickly over short distances and can vary considerably hour-by-hour,” said a statement from Environment Canada.

“Wildfire smoke is a natural part of our environment but it is important to be mindful that exposure to smoke may affect your health.”

READ MORE: FIRES BURN THROUGH THE NIGHT

People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects

The bulletin can be accessed online.

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.

For more information on current air quality, see: www.bcairquality.ca.

Visit www.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.

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