Friday, August 17, 2012

Air-quality alert in effect for county

Valley’s air deemed ‘unhealthy’ by DEQ


By EXPRESS STAFF

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air-quality alert for Blaine County in response to smoke drifting into the county from south-central Idaho wildfires, including the nearly 80,000-acre Halstead Fire near Stanley.

On Thursday, the DEQ rated the region's air quality as "unhealthy." People who are sensitive to increased particulates and smoke are advised to avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor activity. All other people are advised to limit prolonged or strenuous outdoor activity.

"There is concern that the cumulative impact of continued poor air quality ... could cause serious health problems for people with chronic health conditions, such as respiratory or heart conditions," states a news release from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

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People exposed to smoke may experience symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Older adults, infants, children and people with medical conditions such as asthma, chronic pulmonary disease and heart disease are more affected. People who use inhalers for asthma or other conditions should keep them close at hand. People are advised to seek medical treatment for uncontrolled coughing, wheezing and choking, or if breathing difficulty continues once they are indoors.

Public health officials also advise that people in affected areas should stay well-hydrated, stay cool if the weather is hot, and use portable air purifiers. People who wear contact lenses are advised to switch to wearing eyeglasses during periods of smoke.




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