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Protect your health when air quality is poor

Jun 30, 2023
SIMCOE MUSKOKA – A Special Air Quality Statement indicating exposure to wildfire smoke has been issued for Simcoe and Muskoka, with smoke plumes from forest fires over northeastern Ontario and Quebec moving into the area today and possibly into Saturday, resulting in deteriorated air quality.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – A Special Air Quality Statement indicating exposure to wildfire smoke has been issued for Simcoe and Muskoka, with smoke plumes from forest fires over northeastern Ontario and Quebec moving into the area today and possibly into Saturday, resulting in deteriorated air quality.

Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour. Check the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) and FireSmoke Canada to stay aware of the air quality and inform your activities.

Regardless of your health status or age, anyone can be affected by wildfire smoke. Listen to your body and reduce exposure if the smoke is affecting you and remember to check-in on those in your care, family, friends, and neighbours who may be more sensitive to smoke.

  • Take it easy and limit outdoor activities and strenuous physical activities on smoky days.
  • Consider wearing a well-fitted respirator type mask (e.g., NIOSH, N95 or equivalent) if you work or spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Keep indoor air clean.
    • Use a portable HEPA air cleaner to filter the air in a room where you spend a lot of time. A homemade air cleaner can be made using a box fan and furnace filter.
    • Reduce sources of indoor air pollution, including smoking and vaping, burning incense and candles, using air purifiers that produce ozone, and using wood stoves.
    • If indoor temperatures are comfortable, close windows and doors. If you have an HVAC system in your home, use the highest rated MERV filter for your system (ideally rated 13 or higher) and set the fan to recirculate air constantly. Limit the use of the exhaust fan when cooking to prevent outdoor air from coming indoors.
  • Visit public spaces like community centres and libraries which tend to have cleaner, cooler indoor air.
  • Take steps to reduce air pollution by avoiding burning of anything outdoors (e.g., leaves), including firepits, fireplaces, or wood stoves; and avoiding using gas-powered garden equipment (e.g., lawn mower) or recreational vehicles (e.g., ATV).
  • Limit driving to necessary trips and keep windows up and set the air conditioning to the recirculate air setting to limit intake of outdoor air.

Some people are at higher risk of experiencing negative health effects, including infants and young children, pregnant people, older adults, those with chronic lung and heart diseases (e.g., asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes), and people who work outdoors or do strenuous outdoor sports.

For more information, visit www.smdhu.org/WildfireSmoke or call Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

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