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Date Published: Wednesday, June 7, 2023
Date Updated: Thursday, June 8, 2023

Air Quality: Tips To Limit Your Risk

Follow these tips to limit your risk during this public health crisis

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Given the issues with air quality as a result of the Canadian fires, Rachelle J. Lodescar, MD, a burn surgeon for the Westchester Medical Center Burn Center, recommends these tips to limit your risk during this public health crisis: 

  • Avoid any unnecessary time outdoors, especially higher-risk groups such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals and those with underlying heart or respiratory conditions
  • If necessary to be outdoors, avoid strenuous activities or exercise 
  • Consider wearing masks outdoors. There are microscopic particulates in the air that can cause inflammation in the lungs. The best mask for outdoors is an N95 mask.
  • For those with respiratory conditions, such as asthma or COPD, make sure medications are on hand and if symptoms worsen, seek medical attention from your doctor.
  • Close the windows to your home or apartment.
  • With central ducted air conditioning systems, make sure the system is “on” to ensure air is filtered constantly versus “auto” where the system runs intermittently.
  • If your air conditioning system brings in outside air into your home, close the fresh air intake to operate the system in recirculation mode to prevent outdoor smoke from entering your home.
  • Avoid indoor activities that increase indoor pollution, such as vacuuming, burning candles or running gas stoves.
  • Continue to monitor the Air Quality Index and local alerts due to the smoke.

Dr. Lodescar and her colleagues work regularly with patients suffering from the ill effects of smoke inhalation as experts at one the only burn centers between the New York and Canada.

If you are experiencing respiratory distress, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.