Thursday, November 3, 2016

Public Health Advisory Issued for Wildfires Burning in Eastern Kentucky

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has issued a public health advisory concerning the wildfires burning mainly in Eastern Kentucky and drought conditions throughout the commonwealth.

Kentucky will continue to experience drought conditions over the next several days, which could lead to additional fires that may impact residents.

Additional drought-related information and maps

Wildfire smoke can harm people several ways. Smoke can hurt the eyes, irritate the respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Please review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wildfire Smoke Fact sheet.

The following tips can help limit your exposure to smoke:

  • Pay attention to local air quality reports. When a wildfire occurs in your area, watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Pay attention to public health messages and take extra safety measures such as avoiding spending time outdoors.
  • Follow all advisories and order to stay inside and keep your indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed unless it is very hot outside. Run an air conditioner if you have one; but, keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. Seek shelter elsewhere if you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with doors and windows closed.
  • Do not add to indoor pollution. When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles and fireplaces. To prevent stirring up particles already inside your home, do not use vacuum cleaners during smoke events. Do not smoke. Smoking puts even more pollution into the air.
  • Follow your doctor's advice about medicines and your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.
  • Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper comfort or dust masks commonly found at hardware stores trap large particles, such as sawdust but will not protect your lungs from smoke. An N95 mask, properly worn, will offer some protection. If you decide to keep a mask on hand, see the Respirator Fact Sheet provided by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
  • Avoid smoke exposure during outdoor recreation. Wildfires and prescribed burns—fires set on purpose to manage land—can create smoky conditions. Before you travel to a park or forest, check to see if any wildfires are happening or if any prescribed burns are planned.



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