Updated August 2023
Have a look outside and you can’t help but notice the change in air quality. The sea to sky region now has smoke advisory warnings in effect. As of this writing, the BC Air quality Advisory is 7-10+ (moderate/high risk). The fires around of us have created smoke that is moving our way in large quantities.
The smoke from wildfires isn’t always just from natural sources such as trees and plants. The smoke can also be from the homes and items that have burned. Which can include:
With the added smoke in the air, brings health concerns. Long term repeated exposure to smoke may accelerate respiratory issues, cardiovascular disease and progression of atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels).
Some pre-existing health conditions that can make things worse when the smoke is around us:
With all this smoke in the air, here are some common effects of smoke exposure that you should watch out for:
As part of the common effects listed above, here are the symptoms that people tend to experience:
To offset the damage and injury, here are the common treatment and prevention strategies:
Kids vs adults – kids rates of breathing are much faster than adults. So they will tend to have more smoke exposure over the same time period.
The good news is that for most of us, after smoke exposure, our lung health tends to normalize within 2-8 weeks. As it seems that the fires are going to be around for at least a couple weeks, prevention and treatment would be the smart approach short term to minimize any short term or long term issues for you and those you care about.
Share this post with friends and family to raise awareness about the health risks posed by wildfires. Encourage your community to stay informed and prepared. Staying informed and taking proactive steps can significantly reduce the impact of wildfires on your health.
If you experience any respiratory issues, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Dr Landon McLean is a Naturopathic doctor accepting new patients in Whistler BC