LA County’s Department of Public Health is urging county residents to pay attention to their immediate environment and take precautions to safeguard their health. These precautions are particularly important for children, older adults, and people with heart or lung diseases.
According to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, smoke from the Bobcat Fire burning in the region has caused unhealthy air quality in the following areas: East San Gabriel Valley, West San Gabriel Valley, South San Gabriel Valley, Pomona-Walnut Valley, San Gabriel Mountains, Central Los Angeles Area, Southeast LA County, and South Central LA County. Day Camps that are in session in smoke-impacted areas are advised to suspend outside recreational activities such as hiking or picnics until conditions improve.
Wildfire smoke is a mixture of small particles, gases, and water vapor. Small particles are the primary health concern. They can cause burning eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, headaches, and illness (i.e., bronchitis). In people with sensitive conditions, they can cause difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, fatigue, and chest pain.
Avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and limit any physical exertions outside or inside. The L.A. Department of Public Health recommended the following safety measures:
- Keep windows and door closed.
- Avoid using air conditioning units that have no recirculating option and only take air from outside.
- Check air conditioning filters and replace them as needed.
- Use indoor air filtration devices with HEPA filters.
- Visit a public cooling center if a home does not have air conditioning and it’s too hot to keep the door and windows closed.
- Avoid using candles and vacuums.
- Clean dusty surfaces indoors with a damp cloth.
- Do not smoke.
- Contact a doctor, go to an urgent care center or dial 911 if experiencing symptoms of a lung or heart condition that could be related to smoke exposure. Symptoms could include severe coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue and lightheadedness.
- Avoid leaving pets outside, especially at night. Dogs and cats that display respiratory distress should be taken to an animal hospital. Symptoms include an inability to catch their breath. They may be less noticeable in cats than in dogs.