Woodsmoke season

How not to breathe in soot from forest fires

It’s that time of year—the air is stagnant, and smoke from forest fires has settled over the North State. This is a problem beyond making your clothes smell like a campfire, because, look: 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. But you can 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, go for a run or otherwise exert yourself outdoors.

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