Protect your health: KDHE shares ways to mitigate potential air quality impacts from wildfires

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) alerted Kansans to potential air quality impacts from Western wildfire smoke Monday. Ongoing wildfires across the Western U.S. continue to produce dense smoke that is being transported into Kansas by the atmospheric winds.

KDHE stated that while some of this smoke is remaining high in the atmosphere there are times when this smoke is being observed at the surface and impacting air quality. These air quality impacts may continue to be seen as long as the Western U.S. wildfires continue to burn.

According to a news release from KDHE, smoke can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals. Common health problems include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing and illnesses such as bronchitis. Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and the elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect health on days when there’s smoke and haze include:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart-related illness should remain indoors.
  • People who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms in particular respiratory or heart-related symptoms, who are currently infected or recently recovered, should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running the air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.

Click here to view current air quality across the U.S.

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