BUFFALO, N.Y. — An Air Quality Health Alert has been issued for most of Western New York until midnight Sunday night, excluding Allegany County, for fine particles, for smoke from wildfires just to the north in Canada.
Minimal smoke conditions expected, similar to what was experienced Friday.
The Air Quality is expected to be moderate to good starting on Monday.
Those groups who are advised to limit outdoor activity into Sunday night are people who may be especially sensitive to the effects of these elevated levels of pollutants, and they also include the very young in those with respiratory problems.
The Erie County Department of Health says large particles in the polluted air, like smoke, soot and dust, can irritate your eyes, nose, throat and lungs as your body tries to filter those particles out of your respiratory system.
People most vulnerable during an air quality concern are:
- Older adults
- Babies, children and teens, especially those with asthma; asthma is a common lung condition.
- Smokers – their lung capacity and health are already reduced.
- People with heart or lung diseases (COPD, asthma, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease)
- Pregnant people
Those with heart or cardiac conditions could be at risk if they are breathing in particle pollution and that could cause serious issues, like a heart attack. You should seek medical attention if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain or tightness
- Fast heartbeat
- Feeling out of breath
- Being more tired than usual
There are ways to prevent and reduce exposure to polluted air, like spending limited time outdoors and these following tips:
- Spend more time indoors, where particle pollution levels are usually lower. This could mean taking a break from outdoor activities like sports or home and lawn maintenance.
- If you choose to exercise outdoors, choose easier activities (like walking instead of running) so you don’t breathe as hard.
- Use common sense. Check on neighbors and family members.
- Follow burn bans and use safety measures with campfires and other outdoor activities – especially as we come up to fireworks season. Have a fire extinguisher and/or buckets of water nearby and accessible.
- Consider air filters and use as directed. When the outdoor air is smoky and pollutant levels are high, do not rely on ventilation to bring outdoor air indoors. Close windows and doors. Close fireplace dampers. Turn off ventilation systems.
- Think about your pets too. They’re breathing in the same, smoky outdoor air. Consider limiting their time outdoors.