February 18th, 2019

Air quality advisory issued across Alberta due to fires

By Medicine Hat News on August 10, 2018.

Alberta Health Services announced a province-wide air quality advisory Wednesday. Pictured: The Medicine Hat Regional Hospital as seen from the Crescent Heights neighbourhood. -- NEWS PHOTO JEREMY APPEL


Alberta Health Services has issued a province-wide air quality advisory as a response to wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia.

The purpose of the advisory is to make the public aware of certain potential health concerns associated with poor air quality.

According to the advisory, individuals with respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, smokers, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to become ill due to poor air quality.

Lizette Elumir, a medical officer with AHS’s south zone, says advisories are routine precautionary measures.

“Fires are quite common, especially when we have heat like this, and fire, smoke and air quality issues spreading from B.C. to Alberta are quite common,” she said.

“We have a low bar when sending these advisories out, just because we want to keep people aware, alert and cautious of air quality.”

The advisory suggests people try to stay indoors and hydrated, keep their car vents and windows closed to avoid drawing in outdoor air, reduce their level of physical activity and refrain from using backyard fire pits.

“Monitor your symptoms, so if you do start feeling uncomfortable, you seek help or go to a place where you know the air quality is good, such as a mall, where there’s air conditioning,” Elumir added.

It’s unclear when the advisory will be lifted and it will remain in effect until further notice.

“It all depends on what happens with fires — if they start dying down or they keep ramping up because it’s the heat or because of the conditions to the environment,” said Elumir.

“We keep it on until we think the risk is gone, so it’s hard to know when that risk will change.”

Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact their physician or Health Link at 811 to speak to a registered nurse.

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