Air quality expert on staying healthy with smoke-filled skies

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:17 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - As multiple wildfires continue to burn in California, smoke from those fires is filling Northern Nevada skies at an unhealthy rate.

"Smoke is going to affect different people in different ways, so I’d encourage you to listen to your body.”

Julie Hunter, Senior Air Quality Specialist, Washoe County Health District

Julie Hunter, a Senior Air Quality Specialist with the Washoe County Health District is stationed north of Fresno for two weeks, forecasting the smoke impact from the Creek Fire.

“Wildfire smoke exacerbates respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19," Hunter said, "The people on the fire lines that are working up on the fire lines, they’re really getting exposed.”

Air Quality ranges between good and hazardous. Health experts say whether you’re healthy or not, no one is immune to the effects that harmful air can have on your body now and potentially long term.

Hunter added, “Itchy eyes, red eyes, some people get headaches right away, coughing, asthma problems, breathing problems.”

She suggests being smoke smart by staying indoors, keeping windows closed, and circulating clear air at home or in your car are the best ways to keep your family safe. Hunter adds that wearing a face mask to protect you against the Coronavirus will not necessarily keep dirty air out of your system.

“It may filter out some of it, but definitely does not protect you from the particulate matter,” Hunter said.

To stay up to date with the current air quality forecast where you are, click here. For more information regarding the air quality index, click here.

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