Enterprise Risk Management

Air Quality Advisory

An Air Quality Advisory has been issued for the entire Bay Region through Friday, November 9th due to the Butte County Fire.  The current air quality in San Francisco is red/unhealthy, but may fluctuate due to high winds affecting smoke from the fire. Everyone may begin to experience health effects, and members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Smoke from wildfires and structure fires can affect health: eye and throat irritation, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

What to do when air quality is poor:

If you can see, taste, or feel smoke, you should immediately avoid or minimize outdoor activities, or travel to a location not affected by smoke, if you can.  This is especially important if you have health concerns, are elderly, pregnant, or have a child in your care. In the case of particulate matter (from burning trees and grass) a face mask may reduce some of the particles being inhaled into the lungs. The masks should be labeled with N95, P100, or NIOSH to protect from particles.

 

If you can’t get away from the pollution, here are some tips to reduce your symptoms:

  • Dry Eyes – flush the eyes with artificial tears as frequently as you like. If you have an allergic reaction to particles, try an over-the-counter anti-histamine eye drop.
  • Cough – if you’re coughing, this indicates that you have irritation in your respiratory tree from the particles. Try wearing a face mask to reduce your exposure. Cough drops or cough syrup may reduce the irritation.
  • Difficulty Breathing – his is an ominous sign that probably should be treated by a physician. If you have asthma or COPD, it’s ok to use your rescue inhaler more frequently but ultimately you need to find a way to get out of the triggering pollution
  • Chest Pain – if you experience chest pain when the air quality is bad, you should see a physician at once to make sure you are not having a heart attack. Heart attacks and irregular heart rhythms can be triggered by pollution.

 

Contact your health care provider if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Repeated coughing
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea or unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness

As always, if you or someone you know is experiencing a live-threatening emergency, call 911.

Stay up to date with the following links:

  • Visit airnow.gov for current and forecasted air quality conditions in the Bay Area.
  • Visit baaqmd.com for forecasted wind and smoke directions via the Wildfire Smoke Advisory.