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Special air quality statement in effect for Red Deer, Central Alberta

Wildfire smoke continues to cause poor air quality in Red Deer and Central Alberta.

Wildfire smoke continues to cause poor air quality in Red Deer and Central Alberta.

The Government of Canada’s air quality index rated Red Deer’s air quality at 10+ in its noon update on Saturday. This indicates a “very high risk” for people.

A special air quality statement has been issued as smoke is causing both poor air quality and reduced visibility.

“Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour,” said the statement.

“Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. Continue to take actions to protect your health and reduce exposure to smoke.”

People with lung disease (such as asthma) or heart disease, older adults, children, pregnant people, and people who work outdoors are at higher risk of experiencing health effects caused by wildfire smoke.

“Stop outdoor activities and contact your health care provider if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath, wheezing (including asthma attacks), severe cough, dizziness or chest pains. Stay inside if you are feeling unwell and experiencing symptoms,” said the statement.

People are encouraged to keep their indoor air clean by keeping doors and windows closed.

“Take a break from the smoke by temporarily relocating or finding a location in your community with clean, cool air such as a library, shopping mall or community centre. Contact your local health or municipal authorities for more information,” the statement said.

People who must spend time outdoors are encouraged to wear a well-fitted respirator-type mask that doesn’t allow air to pass through small openings between the mask and face, as this can help reduce exposure to the fine smoke particles.

“These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke. It is important to listen to your body and reduce or stop activities if you are experiencing symptoms.”

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About the Author: Red Deer Advocate Staff

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