Adults and children enjoy a smokey day at the beach in Penticton on Aug. 23, 2018. Photo by Jordyn Thomson | Penticton Western News.

How parents can protect their kids from the smoke

Developing lungs more at risk with high air quality index

Parents and expectant mothers are advised to exercise caution when facing the smoky skies in the Okanagan.

Dr. Karin Goodison, medical health officer with Interior Health, said children and pregnant women are more at risk of suffering negative side-effects from the smoke due to lung immaturity.

“Really it has to do with lung development, so infants would be at the highest risk. Then as their lungs develop and the child gets larger, that risk will decrease,” said Goodison. “The relative size of the lungs in children and the active lung development makes them more at risk.”

Essentially, smoke inhalation can irritate a person’s lungs and affect the amount of oxygen entering their blood. Common symptoms from smoke inhalation include irritated eyes, sore throat, fatigue, coughing, etc.

RELATED: Air quality rating at high risk for Okanagan-Shuswap

And while many people’s first inclination is to reach for a mask to protect their children when venturing outside, Goodison warns that this solution has its faults.

“Face masks are only good if the right kind is used and if they’re fitted properly. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to fit a child with a proper face mask,” said Goodison.

Goodison says the best defence against smoke inhalation is staying indoors when the air quality index is high.

She also urges people to consider installing a high efficiency particulate air filter in their homes.

“With children, when the air quality is listed at below seven you can probably resume your normal activities. When it is between seven and 10, they should avoid vigorous activity,” said Goodison.

RELATED: App converts B.C. air quality to cigarettes smoked

Children and caretakers at Kiddie Hall Childcare Inc. have had to adjust their daily schedules the past few weeks as the air quality index ventured above seven and higher.

“It’s definitely making it difficult to divide our days without outside playtime, since we can’t go outside all the time,” said Heather Milanovic, owner of Kiddie Hall.

“We basically have to be very inventive, dividing into groups and stations, and try to do as much physical activity inside (as possible).”

As residents of B.C. continue to contemplate whether smoke-filled summers will be the new normal for the province going forward, parents and expecting mothers are reminded to pay attention to symptoms and be vigilant.

If symptoms due to smoke inhalation become severe, it is recommended to seek medical help.

To report a typo, email:

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter


Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Ancestral remains uncovered at Fintry to be reburied

Remains found along Shorts Creek in Fintry Provincial Park during flood remediation measures

Celebrate Oktoberfest and help Kelowna residents

Oktoberfest fundraiser on Friday Oct. 26 at the Laurel Packinghouse.

School bus and SUV collide in Kelowna

A school bus and an SUV have collided near Summerhill Winery.

Okanagan Rail Trail to officially open

Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 a.m., Oyama Boat Launch, Wood Lake; public welcome

Chinese author tackles racism and reconciliation

David Wong says cultural diversity should not be feared

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Drunk driver gets hammered by judge

Hedley man under virtual house arrest for three months

New silver collector coin features Indigenous dancer

New silver collectors coin captures fast-paced energy of an Indigenous powwow

B.C. woman with autism has scooter stolen from SkyTrain station

Kayla Polege purchased scooter after ‘shutdowns’ on transit

Video: Penticton drive-thru breakfast over the top for United Way

Best year ever for Lakeside Drive-Thru Breakfast in support of the United Way

Off Nova Scotia, a bid to ‘unravel the mystery’ of great white sharks

The question: Is Nova Scotia the second mating site for Atlantic white sharks, something scientists say could be key to protecting the endangered species.

Man arrested after carjacking, collision, pepper spray attacks in Vancouver

Vancouver police say one man is in custody after a chaotic scene of events in the downtown core

Canadian investigator says World Anti-Doping Agency got a bad deal from Russia

A Canadian lawyer says the World Anti-Doping Agency rushed into accepting a bad deal by reinstating the country’s drug-testing program.

Fashion Fridays: Rock some animal print

Kim XO, lets you in on the latest fall fashion trends on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read