California Department of Public Health Urges Residents in Wildfire Areas to Stay Indoors to Reduce Smoke Inhalation

SACRAMENTO October 25, 2019 – California State Public Health Officer and Director Dr. Sonia Angell today urged residents in areas where wildfires are burning to stay indoors and reduce outdoor activity to avoid the inhalation of smoke.

“Breathing smoke can irritate eyes and lungs, and aggravate serious health conditions such as asthma, and lung and heart problems,” said Dr. Angell. “Californians, especially children, older adults, and women who are pregnant, should reduce outdoor activity and stay indoors if possible.”

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Residents should monitor children and check-in on others who may be more susceptible to the health impacts of wildfire smoke. Seek immediate medical care if someone is experiencing chest pain, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.

The following tips can help Californians reduce smoke inhalation during wildfires: 

Stay Indoors: Stay inside with the doors and windows closed to reduce exposure to smoky air. If you have power, run an air conditioner if you have one. If the air conditioner has a recirculate option, use it. Smoke levels can change during the course of a day, so try to stay indoors during smokier times.

Reduce Activity: Reduce physical activity to reduce inhalation of smoky air. During exercise, people can increase their air intake as much as 20 times from their resting level.

Be Prepared: Monitor wildfire activity in your area and be prepared to evacuate if advised.

For information on air quality in your area and how to protect your health during wildfires, please visit the CDPH website.