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Douglas County Health Department: Wildfire smoke returns as health concern

Canada wildfire smoke is affecting 70 million US residents
Posted at 12:39 PM, Aug 29, 2023

A news release from the Douglas County Health Department is warning Nebraskans about the air quality:

Wildfires continue to burn in Canada and the smoke from those blazes is once again threatening the air quality in eastern Nebraska. The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) is asking you to be aware of the situation to avoid health issues as air quality is expected to move into the unhealthy for sensitive groups category later Tuesday and into Wednesday.

People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and heart disease, plus children and pregnant people should take extra precautions when wildfire smoke is in your area. The best way for you to stay on top of the situation is to go to the Douglas County Health Department website at: www.douglascountyairquality.com.

  • When air quality becomes a concern, here are several steps you can take to protect yourself inside your home.
  • Choose a room you can close off from outside air and filter the air.
  • Avoid burning anything in the room – like candles or fireplaces.
  • Don’t fry or broil meat, smoke tobacco products, or vacuum.
  • If you have central air conditioning, use high efficiency filters to catch particles.
  • Set the system to recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper.
  • Stay hydrated with water or other nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Check on elderly friends and neighbors or others who may be in frail health.

If you need to go outside, please limit your activities, and only do essential tasks, monitor the conditions, and wear a respirator if one is recommended. If you have heart or lung disease or other conditions that may be impacted, check with your provider before working outside or using a respirator. Don’t hesitate to seek medical help if you need it. Please make plans now to be safe.

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