Click on the links below for more information on issues related to outdoor air quality:
Click on the links below:
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. The term PM (for particulate matter) is used to describe this type of pollutant. Other components of smoke include toxic gases like carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone.
Particles smaller than 10 microns (PM 10) can make it past our body's defenses and lodge in our lungs' airways, or bronchial tubes. PM 2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 microns) are especially dangerous and can reach into the alveoli, or air sacs, of our lungs and into the bloodstream.
Smoke particles can build up in our bodies and cause a number of immediate health problems including burning eyes, runny noses, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, and headaches. The assault by high levels of PM can overwhelm the lungs and mucus membranes, causing a mucus and soot buildup. This makes our bodies more susceptible to infections, such as sinusitis or bronchitis. The particles also can aggravate existing heart and lung disease such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema and asthma. People with a prior heart attack are at higher risk for a second heart attack.
Children (they breathe more often, so exposure is heavier)
Seniors (whose natural defenses against Particulate Matter are more limited)
Pregnant women – Your doctor would have the best advice for you because he/she knows about your condition. The reason pregnant women are at risk is because smoke causes constriction of blood vessels in the body. Because the placenta is full of blood vessels, your baby relies on getting an adequate blood flow. However, there are precautions that you can take to keep you and your baby safe.
If it looks smoky outside, it is best to refrain from outdoor physical activity and a good time to stay indoors with the windows closed
Keep windows closed and fresh air intakes closed
Stay indoors as much as possible.
Use air conditioning in cars and homes, and keep windows closed.
Avoid smoke producing appliances such as wood stoves and even candles
Do not smoke tobacco inside – smoking puts added stress on your lungs and those around you
If you have asthma or other respiratory condition, be vigilant about avoiding smoke and taking your prescribed medicine. Speak with you health care provider.
Seek medical treatment if you have uncontrolled coughing, wheezing or choking, or if breathing difficulty does not subside indoors
When visibility is worse, generally the worse the smoke.
Tune into local media for details and updates on local conditions.
Local conditions can change quickly. Please refer to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: