Public health suggests some people take precautions due to air quality problems

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Air Quality map from Instant Weather Ontario

Lambton Public Health is asking people to take precautions to protect their health over the next couple of days as air quality deteriorates because of smoke drifting south from wildfires in Ontario and Quebec.

In a news release, public health says children, older adults, people who are pregnant or who have chronic health conditions and people who work outside are at higher risk of having problems because of poor air quality.

The Air Quality Health Index is listed as low risk in Sarnia right now but drifting smoke is expected to make the air quality high risk both Friday and Sunday and a moderate risk on Saturday.

During moderate risk air quality – if you’re considered at risk – you should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you are experiencing symptoms. Others can continue with outdoor activities unless you’re experiencing problems.

During high risk air quality, people at risk should reduce or reschedule strenuous activities outdoors. Children and the elderly should also take it easy. Others should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous activities outdoors if you experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

You might find you have irritated eyes, increased mucous and difficulty breathing when the air quality at higher risk. Public health says you should contact your health care provider if you develop severe symptoms

To help your body cope with wildfire smoke public health suggests:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water;
  • Reduce vehicle use and take extra precaution if you live or work near Highway 402 as air quality is affected by traffic and prevailing wind conditions;
  • If possible, set your HVAC to recirculate air or use a portable HEPA air cleaner and keep windows closed if the temperature is not too hot.
  • Take care of your mental health. It is not unusual to feel anxious or stressed during poor air quality events. Local mental health supports are available at Age-Friendly Sarnia-Lambton