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American Lung Association Releases Tips for Fairbanks-Area Residents as Air Quality Reaches Hazardous Levels

(July 9, 2019) - FAIRBANKS, Alaska

For more information please contact:

Holly Harvey
[email protected]
(206) 512-3292

– People living in the Fairbanks North Star Borough are facing hazardous air quality due to smoke from several wildfires burning near the region, posinWildfire smoke can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and can even be lethal.  To help residents protect their health, the Lung Association has released the following health tips:

Stay indoors and protect the air in your home. If possible, people should remain indoors and avoid excessive physical activity. Keep doors, windows and fresh air dampers shut, ideally with a HEPA quality air purifier running.  

Prepare to evacuate if directed. In order to mobilize quickly, those with chronic lung disease should gather all medications, delivery devices, prescriptions and insurance cards in one place, in the event of an evacuation. 

Roll up your car windows. When driving, keep windows and vents closed. Operate your vehicle air conditioning only in the "recirculate" setting.

Keep an eye on symptoms. Higher levels of smoke can make breathing more difficult. If you experience symptoms, contact your physician immediately. Symptoms can include wheezing, shortness of breath, difficulty taking a full breath, chest heaviness, lightheadedness and dizziness.

Know your air quality. Visit airnow.gov or download the AirNow app on your smartphone. Local radio, TV weather reports, newspapers and websites such as Alaska Air Quality Advisory page can also provide local updates

Do not depend on a dust mask: Ordinary dust masks will not help. Masks with a HEPA filter or an N-95 will filter out the damaging fine particles in wildfire smoke. Consult with your doctor before using a mask, especially if you have lung disease, as it may be difficult to use.

Ask for help. The American Lung Association’s Lung Helpline at 1-800-LUNGUSA is staffed by nurses and respiratory therapists, and is a free resource to answer any questions about the lungs, lung disease and lung health, including how to protect yourself during wildfires. 

More information on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke is available at Lung.org/wildfires. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health and wildfires, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 206-512-3292.

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About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

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