August .17 .2018

Can you smell it?

Vancouver Smokey SkylineIt’s impossible to miss the haze that has descended upon Metro Vancouver. The entire province has the worst air quality ranking in all of North America.

Wildfire season has become an annual occurrence in BC and 2018 is shaping up to be the worst on record. Forest fire smoke is actually filled with gases and tiny particles that irritate the lungs. While those with chronic diseases, pregnant women, children, and seniors can be seriously affected by the smoke, even healthy people experience the effects.

Besides the obvious irritation to the eyes, throat, and lungs, your body can’t kill smoke the way it kills most biological insurgents. So, your lungs remain a little more inflamed than normal. If you are asthmatic, or suffer from another breathing-related issue, it’s best to avoid the outdoors for the time being.  

The best way to deal with smoke pollution is to be well-prepared and to take action to reduce your exposure. Reduce your outdoor activity. Try and keep your indoor space as smoke-free as possible by keeping the windows and doors closed. If your home is too warm, head over to your local shopping mall, community centre and library, as they tend to have better indoor air quality because they have larger air filtration systems. Also, consider purchasing a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter and create a clean air shelter in a room of your home.

It’s important to remember that everyone is affected differently. You have to listen to your body and what it’s telling you. But regardless, now is not the time for that 25 kilometer long outdoor trail run. Try and keep outdoor exertion to a minimum and avoid strenuous exercise. No need to strain your lungs and more than they already are!

Finally, it’s critical to keep yourself hydrated and drink lots of water to reduce inflammation.

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Alexandra Yallouz


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