How Wildfire Smoke Affects the Air You Breathe
Wildfire smoke presents significant health hazards due to the deterioration of air quality. People do not have to be in a high-risk health category to be affected by unhealthy levels of particulate matter and other compounds generated by fires. A health insurance broker Santa Rosa understands the impacts that fires in Northern California have on an individual’s well-being. Here are some important questions to consider about wildfires and some important steps to help you stay safe.
How Does Wildfire Smoke Impact Air Quality?
Wildfire smoke is usually a mixture of many different and dangerous substances, which make it toxic to breathe. The spread of fires means they burn through a number of different natural resources, structures and materials becoming an amalgam of particulates, water vapor, carbon dioxide and gaseous chemicals. This leaves people near fires exposed to these noxious fumes:
Particulate matter is the most concerning because weather conditions can carry it many miles away from the wildfire. While large particles irritate the nose, throat and eyes, it’s the fine particles that enter the lungs and may cause serious problems for people.
Why is Wildfire Smoke Dangerous to Your Health?
Fine particulates can decrease lung function. This is a concern for any human in contact with smoke. Vulnerable persons with pre-existing health issues are most at risk. For these individuals, significant exposure could lead to premature death.
People exposed to smoky air often exhibit these symptoms:
The level of exposure matters to your health. There is a spectrum of contact for each individual, which includes the amount inhaled, the substances in the smoke, and the length of time a person breathes the polluted air. These variables determine possible health outcomes.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke?It’s nearly impossible to determine how fires spread and what way smoke will travel, given emerging weather conditions, changing terrain and other consistently shifting factors. Sight and smell are two of the most reliable ways to anticipate problems. Fog, haze and generally poor air quality, along with irritation of the lungs and throat indicate unhealthful conditions in your area.
If smoke is an imminent threat, it is important to keep your residence tightly closed up, run your AC, use an air purifier, and limit or avoid outdoor activities. Wearing a mask outside can help in certain conditions. If staying poses a precarious risk and you are safe to leave, it may be a good idea to evacuate the area altogether and relocate to a safe location.
Choose a Knowledgeable Insurance Broker
It’s important to get the right insurance to meet your unique needs. Sackett & Associates Insurance Services assists individuals and employers with identifying and purchasing the best and most cost-effective coverage. For more information about our plans or to get a quote, call our Santa Rosa, CA, office at (707) 823-3689.