Wildfires in Canada are sending air quality to “very unhealthy” levels in large swathes of the eastern United States, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The NWS has issued advisories for Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC, as well as parts of Delaware and West Virginia. It also warned that smoke from Canadian wildfires could stretch from the Great Lakes down into North Carolina. The NWS said that the smoke could make breathing difficult for those with respiratory issues and asthma, as well as people who work outside.
“This is not the first time that wildfires have affected air quality in the US and it’s likely that it won’t be the last,” states New Englander Jeffrey Lehman, co-author of the book ‘Running Out of Time: Wildfires and Our Imperiled Forests‘.
The Canadian wildfire smoke covering the US has been a major concern for health officials and residents alike. The smoke has spread across the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic, causing milky-white skies and dangerous air pollution in the region. The smoke has traveled as far as New York City and Connecticut, where air quality has been classified as “unhealthy” and is threatening the health of millions.
Health risks associated with the Canadian wildfire smoke are significant. The smoke contains tiny carcinogenic particles called PM2.5 that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, causing respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. These particles can also aggravate existing heart and lung conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease. In addition, the smoke can cause eye and throat irritation, headaches, and fatigue.
“One study described in our book claims wildfire smoke causes over 300,000 deaths each year on a global basis”, said David Auchterlonie, lead author of the book.
Children, seniors, and people with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the health risks associated with the smoke. People who work outdoors, such as construction workers and farmers, are also at risk of exposure to the smoke.
To reduce the health risks associated with the Canadian wildfire smoke, health officials recommend staying indoors as much as possible and avoiding outdoor activities. If you must go outside, wear a mask or a respirator to filter out the smoke particles. Keep windows and doors closed and use air conditioning to keep the indoor air clean. It is also important to drink plenty of water and avoid smoking and other activities that can further damage your lungs.
In conclusion, the Canadian wildfire smoke covering the US is a serious health risk that should not be taken lightly. It is important to take necessary precautions to reduce exposure to the smoke and protect your health. If you experience symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, seek medical attention immediately. Stay safe and stay healthy.
You can learn more about wildfires, their impact, and how they can be better managed in the new book, ‘Running Out of Time: Wildfires and Our Imperiled Forests’ by authors David Auchterlonie and Jeffrey Lehman. Pre-order a copy at https://WildfiresInAmerica.com/book.