As most of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast sits on the ‘high’ end of the fire danger rating, Vancouver Coastal Health is encouraging residents to plan ahead to minimize exposure to smoky air.
VCH states that though smoke is different from pollution, it is also harmful to human health. It recommends staying hydrated, reducing time spent outdoors, closing doors and windows, paying attention to air quality indexes, spending time in places with filtered air conditioning, and avoiding strenuous activities like exercising, as breathing harder means taking in more air.
People with difficulty breathing or medical conditions are advised to take extra precautions and to keep medication on them while outside.
“Common symptoms can include discomfort when breathing, eye irritation, runny nose, sore throat, headaches, and mild cough,” stated Deana Lancaster, Communications Leader of Public Health for Vancouver Coastal Health. “If you experience these symptoms, seek spaces with clean air and reduce physical activity. If you experience more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, severe cough, dizziness, chest discomfort, heart palpitations, or wheezing, seek medical attention.”
The most recent wildfire of note within the Coastal Fire Center is the Duncan Bay Main wildfire, currently sitting at one hectare.