For Immediate Release:
November 13, 2018
LOS ANGELES – According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, smoke from Woolsey Fire has caused unhealthy air quality that affects everyone in areas directly impacted by smoke, including portions of:
“As residents begin to return home and start cleaning after being evacuated, they are more likely to come in contact with ash and soot, especially in areas that were close to or damaged by the fire. Please remember that smoke and ash can be harmful to health, even for people who are healthy,” said Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “If you can see smoke, soot, or ash, or you can smell smoke, pay attention to your immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard your health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults and people with heart or lung diseases.”
Dr. Davis urges everyone in these areas, or areas where there is visible smoke or the smell of smoke, to avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and to limit physical exertion (whether indoor or outdoor), such as exercise. Children and people who have air quality sensitive conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, and other chronic respiratory diseases, should follow these recommendations and stay indoors as much as possible even in areas where smoke, soot, or ash cannot be seen or there is no smell of smoke. If your condition worsens, contact your health care provider immediately for medical advice.
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases and water vapor. The primary health concern is the small particles. These small particles can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches and illness (i.e., bronchitis). In people with sensitive conditions, they can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and/or chest pain.
“We are also advising schools and recreational programs that are in session in smoke-impacted areas to suspend outside physical activities in these areas, including physical education and after-school sports, until conditions improve. Non-school related sports organizations for children and adults are advised to cancel outdoor practices and competitions in areas where there is visible smoke, soot, or ash, or where there is a smell of smoke. This also applies to other recreational outdoor activity, such as hikes or picnics, in these areas,” said Dr. Davis.
People can participate in indoor sports or other strenuous activity in areas with visible smoke, soot, or ash, provided the indoor location has air conditioning that does not draw air from the outside and it has closed windows and doors to protect the cleanliness of indoor air. If not, it is recommended that everyone follow these guidelines as if they were outside.
The following recommendations will help you protect yourself and your family from harmful effects of bad air quality:
The following is recommended for pets:
The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of over 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health comprises nearly 4,100 employees and has an annual budget of $1 billion. To learn more about Los Angeles County Public Health, please visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, and follow LA County Public Health on social media at twitter.com/lapublichealth, instagram.com/lapublichealth, facebook.com/lapublichealth and youtube.com/lapublichealth.