Air quality and strenuous outdoor activity

Submitted

Wildfires across the province have resulted in smoky skies and poor air quality for many Interior Health communities.

During times of poor air quality, it’s important that individuals take steps to protect their health and wellbeing.

Over the last week, Interior Health has received questions from community members and local organizations about the health risks of strenuous outdoor activities.

B.C. uses the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to make recommendations for modifying outdoor activity or avoiding smoke.

This index takes into consideration levels of particulate matter, NO2, SO2, and other gases that are known to negatively impact lung capacity, heart function, and blood flow to muscles and brain tissue.

Smoke affects everyone differently, but those most at risk include individuals with underlying medical conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, diabetes, and infants, the elderly, and pregnant women.

The best way to protect your health when skies are smoky is to reduce your exposure and seek cleaner air.

When the AQHI is moderate or higher (equal to or above four), Interior Health recommends that individuals consider reducing or avoiding strenuous activities, and follow the recommendations provided on the BC Air Quality website.

If you are experiencing clinical symptoms of any kind, contact your health care provider or local walk-in clinic.

If your symptoms are severe, seek emergency medical attention.

For more information on precautions when air quality is poor visit www.interiorhealth.ca or contact HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.

Air quality in Golden has stayed below the B.C. air quality objective for 24-hour averages of 10 particulate matters or less, until August 15, and spiked to 231.9 micrograms per cubic metre on August 19 at 12 p.m.

On August 21, the air quality shifted below air quality objectives once again. Particulate matters 2.5 micrograms or less in size followed a similar trend.

To learn more about air quality data for Golden, go to www.goldenairquality.ca.

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