UPDATE: Air quality now considered ‘Unhealthy for everyone’ in region


The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued an updated air quality alert on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018 – declaring that the current air is ‘Unhealthy for everyone’ for the entire Puget Sound region.

Air pollution is increasing due to wildfire smoke, and may cause health problems.

“Currently, the air quality has reached levels that are UNHEALTHY for everyone in the Puget Sound region,” the agency said. “Although we could have some clearing tonight, with so much smoke around it will likely linger through Thursday. The outlook for early next week shows smoke could return.”

Wildfire smoke can cause a range of health problems:

  • Asthma attack
  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Stinging eyes
  • Irritated sinuses
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat

Everyone should take precautions, especially children, older adults, and people that are pregnant, have heart or lung issues (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD), or that have had a stroke:

  • Stay indoors when possible.
  • Limit your physical activity outdoors, such as running, bicycling, physical labor, and sports.
  • Close windows in your home, if possible, and keep the indoor air clean. If you have an air conditioner, use the “recirculation” switch. Use an indoor air filter if available.
  • If you do not have an air conditioner, consider finding a public place with clean, air-conditioned indoor air like a public library or a community center.
  • Avoid driving when possible. If you must drive, keep the windows closed. If you use the car’s fan or air conditioning, make sure the system recirculates air from inside the car; don’t pull air from outside.
  • Schools, camps, sports teams, and daycare providers should consider postponing outdoor activities or moving them indoors.
  • N95 or N100 rated masks can help protect some people from air pollution. These masks are usually available at hardware and home repair stores. Please check with your doctor to see if this appropriate for you. More information here.
  • For more information on ways to reduce your exposure, see the Washington Department of Health’s Smoke From Fire tips.

As always, check with your health care provider for more specific questions and concerns.

To learn more about wildfire smoke, and to subscribe to updates, visit the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency’s website.


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