A by-product of wildfires that can impact people from miles away (and sometimes continents away!), smoke can create severe public health impacts. This fun and informative personal account of smoke impacts also has some good tips at the end of the article.
"Smoke plumes can carry dangerous gases and toxins hundreds or thousands of miles, exposing hundreds of millions of Americans each fire season to harmful particulates. Even as the United States continues to make strides to reduce air pollution—here’s looking at you, Clean Air Act and Clean Power Plan—the risks from smoke plumes are only likely to worsen as climate change continues to spur bigger, badder fires."
"Short-term exposure to plumes has been linked to everything from asthma attacks to stroke to anxiety. People with preexisting respiratory and cardiovascular problems are particularly vulnerable, as are the elderly and the very young. One study found that babies whose moms had been exposed to wildfire smoke during pregnancy had lower birth weights. And even perfectly healthy folks (joggers, like yours truly) may suffer sore throats or itchy eyes when a haze descends."
"In the meantime, anyone looking to breathe a little easier during wildfire season can take precautions. The CDC offers some excellent tips, including:
- Check air quality reports.
- Consult local visibility reports.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible.
- Don’t be a dolt and go out for a run when a thick plume of wildfire smoke descends on your backyard.
Er, that last note might not be a CDC-approved message but rather one I wrote to myself."