Smoke from the forest fires affects air quality and your health
June 18, 2023

The troubling air conditions USA is currently experiencing are due to the smoke from Canada wildfires that are spreading across many parts of the East Coast of the United States.

Forest fires are primary cause for releasing large amount of smoke and pollution particles in the air. Depending of the wind wildfires smoke can travel long distances.

Dr. Purvi Parikh, PhD, allergist and immunologist at New York University and national spokesperson, answers important questions about how wildfire smoke affects air quality and human health.

If you inhale small particles of smoke from wildfires, your lungs can be irritated. This can lead to coughing and difficulty breathing. Smoke and ash from forest fires can also irritate the eyes, nose and throat. People with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other pre-existing conditions are at greater risk of starting to experience symptoms.

More vulnerable to smoke from forest fires on health are:
• people with pre-existing lung or cardiovascular disease
• elderly people
• children
• pregnant women
• outdoor workers
• people living near forest fires.
The smoke can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, because they have reduced lung capacity due to their belly. Exposure to smoke can also cause premature birth.

unhealthy air

During forest fires, Dr. Purvi Parikh advised prioritizing health by following these tips:
• Stay hydrated.
• Close the doors and windows.
• Use an air filter (HEPA filter).
• Use air conditioner in closed circulation mode.
• Avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
• Ventilate the air in your car using the air conditioner.
• If you have to go out, keep your asthma inhaler with you.
These advices can help reduce the impact of wildfire smoke. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions should follow their doctor’s advice and ensure they have enough medications.


Poor air quality can also be harmful to your pets. Animals can develop similar lung conditions like humans. During periods of poor air quality, it is advisable to limit the time your pets, such are cats and dogs, spend outdoors and keep them indoors as much as possible. Exposure to wildfire smoke can have significant effects on our health, causing lung and cardiovascular problems, as well as potential long-term consequences. It is important to be aware of the risks and take precautions to minimize the impact of wildfire smoke on human well-being.



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