How smoke conditions may affect your health is determined by a number of factors, such as the length of time you are exposed, how much air you breath in, your health status and the concentration of smoke in the air.
Smoke is made up of a number of components. The unhealthiest material in wildland fire smoke is the small particles (particulates). They may make it harder to breathe or make you cough. These small particles can also make existing heart and lung conditions worse.
Young children, the elderly, and people with heart or lung conditions, like asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and congestive heart failure are more sensitive to the adverse effects of exposure to smoke. People participating in sports or strenuous work outdoors may also be more susceptible, because they are breathing air deeply and rapidly. Risks increase when smoke becomes heavier and as the length of time a person is exposed increases.
Exposure to smoke can cause sore eyes, tears, cough and a runny nose. If the smoke lasts days to weeks or is very heavy, it can cause lung problems and a longer-lasting cough. Exposure to smoke can also make heart and lung conditions worse.
Manitobans who are concerned about smoke can take the following precautions:
People with heart or lung conditions, including asthma, can also do the following:
Smoke levels from forest fires may vary considerably due to fire conditions and wind directions.
People who are at higher risk such as young children, the elderly and people with heart or lung conditions should consider taking precautions when smoke conditions are light to moderate. This is usually indicated by a smoke odour and haziness or visibility that is less than eight km.
People who are considered healthy should consider taking precautions when smoke conditions are heavy. Heavy smoke conditions exist when visibility is less than about four kilometers, and is especially of concern when these conditions last for a day or more.
The decision to seek medical care will be affected by factors such as age, existing health problems or the symptoms a person is experiencing at the time. It is important to listen to your body’s cues, especially if you have a condition that puts you at higher risk.
If you or someone you know experiences any of the following symptoms it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible:
If you have questions or are concerned that you may need care, contact your health care provider or call Health Links-Info-Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll free at 1-888-315-9257.
For more information talk to your health care provider, call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll free at 1-888-315-9257, or visit: