Wildfire smoke impacting Camden

Smoke from the West Mims fire in Charlton County and Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is affecting visibility and air quality in Camden County today.

For healthy people, smoke from wildfires that contain particles from burning trees and shrubs can irritate one's eyes and respiratory system, according to Coastal Health District officials. However, smoke can also worsen chronic health problems such as lung disease, asthma and allergies. People with existing respiratory conditions, young children and elderly people are especially susceptible to health effects from the smoke.

It is important to limit one's exposure to the smoke and take precautions to protect one's health and the health of one's family. These precautions include the following:

• Stay inside and away from the smoke.

• Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run the air conditioner but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside.

• Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles already inside the home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

• Keep airways moist by drinking plenty of water.

• Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles such as sawdust. These masks will not protect one's lungs from the small particles found in wildfire smoke.

• Those who have asthma or a lung disease should follow the advice of their doctor or other health care provider about their medicine or about a respiratory management plan.

• Those who are having difficulty breathing or worsening symptoms should seek medical attention.

Tribune & Georgian

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