OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If you have plans to be outdoors this weekend, the Douglas County Health Department (DHCD) says they may need to change depending on your health status.
This time of year in Kansas, farmers and others tend to hold controlled burns...a method used to clear fields, prevent fires and even restore nutrients to the soil for future planting. Depending on weather and wind patterns this weekend, smoke from burns in Northeast Kansas could mean pollution in Omaha and the surrounding areas.
If you have conditions like asthma, lung disease, are a child or are elderly, DHCD says this might put you at risk depending on the amount of smoke in the air.
So, before venturing out, you may want to check conditions. DHCD says you can do so at https://www.airow.gov/.
They also offered a number of tips everyone should take when smoke is present:
- Use common sense. If it looks smoky outside, it's probably not a good time to go outside for strenuous exercise.
- Pay attention to local air quality reports. You can monitor the conditions at www.airnow.gov [airnow.gov] . Simply wait for the U.S. map to appear, then click on Omaha and zoom in. That page includes the forecast and provides hourly updates.
- If you are advised to stay indoors, take steps to keep indoor air as clean as possible. Try to avoid using anything that burns. Don't vacuum and don't smoke.
- If you have asthma or other lung diseases, make sure you follow your doctor's directions about taking your medicines and following your asthma management plan. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
- It is important for individuals with lung disease, respiratory disease or a heart condition to monitor the air quality. Parents should monitor conditions for their children. If you’re healthy, a short-term exposure to smoke usually does not pose a major health risk.