According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, smoke from Canadian wildfires has reached Florida, resulting in hazy skies and decreased air quality across the state. Sarasota County, in particular, has been experiencing unhealthy air quality as a result of the smoke. The Florida Division of Emergency Management has warned that the haze is expected to continue moving south, affecting the Panhandle and other parts of the peninsula.
Inhaling smoke can be dangerous as it contains hazardous gases and tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM2.5) that can cause damage to the lungs and other organs. The Air Quality Index identifies air quality in relation to the health effects that individuals may experience after breathing polluted air. Ground-level ozone and airborne particles pose the greatest threat to human health.
Even healthy individuals may experience irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath when exposed to smoke or poor air quality. Those with lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may have difficulty breathing deeply, feel chest discomfort, wheezing, experience shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue. Individuals with heart or vascular diseases may experience chest discomfort, shortness of breath, pain in other areas of the upper body, or other signs of distress. It is important to seek emergency medical treatment if experiencing these symptoms.
To protect themselves from bad air quality, individuals with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and teens should stay indoors in a filtered air environment and avoid strenuous outdoor activities. It is also crucial to keep doors and windows closed, maintain a fresh air filter in your air conditioner, and monitor symptoms closely. Children and teens, who are more susceptible to smoke, require extra precautions as their lungs are still developing.
It is important to follow the recommendations and guidelines provided by AirNow.gov and seek medical attention if experiencing severe symptoms or distress. These measures will help individuals minimize the impact of smoke and poor air quality on their health and wellbeing.
– National Weather Service in Melbourne
– Florida Division of Emergency Management