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Wildfire Season Heats up Medford

Unhealthy air quality levels are expected; American Lung Association Warns of Health Harms from Breathing Smoky Air

(July 27, 2018) - PORTLAND, Ore.

For more information please contact:

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

Once again, multiple wildfires are burning in Oregon and throughout the west. Wildfires bring smoke that worsens air quality that affects health. The American Lung Association has tips to protect your health from the wildfire’s damaging effects.

Hazardous smoke from these wildfires can present potentially lethal health hazards to those who work and live in the affected areas, and across the state as wind gusts blow smoke throughout the region. One of the many pollutants found in wildfire smoke is particle pollution, which is a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in air. Exposure to wildfire smoke and particle pollution can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes. Some of the most vulnerable to exposure are babies, small children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with existing respiratory problems or heart disease

“Thousands are at risk of breathing polluted air from these wildfires,” said Cathy Gidley, Executive Director of the American Lung Association in Oregon. “While the fires continue to burn, there’s an increased risk of damaging health effects than can range from lung irritation to serious illnesses.”

Oregon residents who have respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic heart disease should take extra precautions during this time and call their physician immediately if problems develop.

The American Lung Association offers the following tips:

  • Stay inside as much as possible, with doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut – with clean air circulating through air conditions and/or air cleaners. Residents should use the recirculation setting on their home air conditions to avoid outdoor air contamination.
  • When driving through smoky areas, car windows and vents should be closed. Air conditioning should be set to recirculate to avoid exposure to outside air.
  • Avoid vacuuming, this adds dust to the air.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors, particularly if you smell smoke of experience eye of throat irritation.
  • If you have lung disease, check in with your physician about your medications.
  • You can follow Oregon wildfires by visiting www.oregonsmoke.blogspot.com   
  • Know the air quality in your area by visiting www.airnow.gov or download the AirNow app on your smartphone. Local radio, TV weather reports and newspapers also provide updates.

More information on how to protect yourself from wildfire smoke can be found here. You can also call the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA to speak with respiratory therapists and registered nurses regarding questions about lung health.

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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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