AIR QUALITY ALERT: Canada wildfires create unhealthy atmosphere across mid-Atlantic

Lung association offers tips for outdoor activity


This week, areas throughout the mid-Atlantic are being impacted by poor air quality, due to large, uncontrolled wildfires in Nova Scotia, Canada.

These blazes have produced a significant smoke plume in Delaware and surrounding areas, and is likely to cause elevated unhealthy readings on the air quality index.

Over several days, the air quality is predicted to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, older adults and people with lung diseases, like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The American Lung Association offers these tips to avoid lung irritation and health complications during this time:

  • Stay indoors. People living close to the fire-stricken areas should remain indoors and avoid breathing smoke, ashes and other pollution.
  • Protect the air in your home. Keep doors, windows and fireplace dampers shut. Have clean air circulating through air conditioners on the recirculation setting.
  • Keep an eye on symptoms. Higher levels of smoke in some locations can make breathing more difficult. If you are experiencing such conditions, contact a health care provider.
  • Take precautions for kids, who are more susceptible to smoke. Children’s lungs are still developing, and they breathe in more air (and, consequently, more pollution) for their size than adults do.
  • Ask for help. The American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 800-LUNGUSA is staffed by nurses and respiratory therapists, and is a free resource to answer questions about lungs, lung disease and lung health, including how to protect yourself during wildfires.
Members and subscribers make this story possible.
You can help support non-partisan, community journalism.