Up in smoke

Only you can prevent breathing in smoke from forest fires

Smoke from forest fires has descended on the North Valley. Some people might actually like the smell, but, to be sure, inhaling smoke is bad for you. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, woodsmoke can cause irritations such as burning eyes or runny nose, as well as aggravate chronic heart and lung conditions. Protect yourself with these steps:

Watch for air-quality reports: Stay up on news coverage and health warnings related to smoke. Also, check out the local Air Quality Index at www.bcaqmd.org.

Talk to your doctor: Especially if you’re an older adult or have children, discuss woodsmoke and its effects before it’s thick in the air.

Use common sense: If it’s visibly smoky outside, don’t mow the lawn or go for a run.

Keep inside air clean: Run your air conditioner, close your air intake and keep the filter clean to prevent smoke from getting inside.