Erie County Warns Residents About Health Risks Due To Poor Air Quality
The Erie County Department of Health has issued a warning to residents due to poor air quality. Late last night, the ECDOH sent out a warning about the smoke from Canadian wildfires affecting the air quality here in Western New York.
AirNow says that the air quality in Buffalo is "unhealthy for sensitive groups." The U.S. Air Quality Index for the city is 116, which is color-coded orange.
Sanjay Sethi, MD, division chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at UBMD Internal Medicine and the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, explains the Air Quality Index,
Wildfires affect air quality by adding particulate matter, ozone and other gases into the air, all of which make air quality worse. The Air Quality Index (AQI) takes into account all these pollutants, and if it exceeds 100, short term health effects are likely and precautions need to be taken.
Erie County Warns Residents To Stay Indoors
According to the Department of Health, the forecast for today, June 8, 2023, is predicting very unhealthy air quality conditions. The department recommends that residents remain indoors as much as possible to avoid these conditions.
Outdoor activities such as sports or work may need to be canceled or postponed for safety. Erie County residents who are younger children, older adults or individuals with health conditions like heart failure, asthma, or COPD, may have a great health risk from the poor air quality. Doors and windows should remain closed. N95-style masks can help reduce the amount of smoke inhaled.
Employers with workers who spend time outdoors should shift to indoor projects if possible. Limiting the amount of time spent outdoors is another way to reduce your risks and avoid symptoms like eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Erie County Is Providing N95-Style Masks To Residents
Erie County has a limited supply of N95-style masks available today in the Rath Building lobby (95 Franklin Street, downtown Buffalo).
Keep Your Pets Safe From Breathing Unhealthy Air
The poor air quality caused by the Canadian wildfires not only affects people, it also affects pets. Dr. Thomas Edling, American Humane's Chief Veterinary Officer, has put together a checklist to help pet parents keep their furry loved ones safe.
Smoky conditions triggered by wildfires can affect cats and dogs just like humans, and pet owners should act accordingly. Shorter walks to avoid strained breathing and monitoring your animal for coughing, sneezing, and general respiratory issues is recommended. Animals with inherent breathing problems—including French Bulldogs and Pugs—or older animals should be under even closer observation. Americans should take precautions to keep all members of their family safe—even the furry ones.
- Limit how much time your pet spends outdoors
- Make sure windows and doors remain closed
- Avoid having your pet participate in strenuous exercise outdoors
- Make bathroom breaks short and return indoors immediately
- Bring outdoor water and food bowls inside