With the recent wildfires in Monterey County, there has been a significant
change in our local air quality. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of
gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials.
Smoke can irritate your eyes, respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart
and lung diseases.
Who is at greatest risk from wildfire smoke?
Those that have heart or lung disease. Congestive heart failure, angina,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including emphysema), or asthma,
are at higher risk from wildfire smoke. People with these conditions are
at a higher risk of having health problems than people without these conditions.
- Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke. This may be due to
their increased risk of heart and lung diseases.
- Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke due
to their airways still developing and they breathe more air per pound
of body weight than adults. In addition, children often spend more time
outdoors engaged in activity and play.
Take steps to decrease your risk from wildfire smoke:
Check local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings
about smoke and wildfire updates and current evacuation orders.
- Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. 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.
- Avoid activities that increase indoor pollution. Burning candles, fireplaces,
or gas stoves can increase indoor pollution. Vacuuming stirs up particles
already inside your home, contributing to indoor pollution. Smoking also
puts even more pollution into the air.
- Follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare provider about medicines
and your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung
disease. Consider evacuating the area if you are having trouble breathing.
Call for further advice if your symptoms worsen.
At Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
SVMH has taken extra measures to help the air quality here at the hospital
as well. Engineering has decreased the in-take air and increased the return
air. Highly sensitive areas within the hospital are equipped with highly
concentrated HEPA filters in the ventilation system. SVMH has ordered
additional charcoal filters as a preventative measure if the air quality
conditions become more severe. We continue to ask that windows and doors
accessing the outside be kept closed during this time as advised by the CDC.
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is supporting firefighters and
the firefighting efforts with donations of needed medical supplies and
support. We also have donation barrels on site at the hospital and are
encouraging all staff to donate items requested by volunteer firefighters.
We appreciate the efforts of all of the fire crews working to protect our
community. We encourage you to take any necessary precautions during this
time of compromised air quality to protect yourself and your family.