In Red Deer, the Air Quality Health Index was expected to hit 8 Monday afternoon, which is considered a high risk level. It was predicted to go down to 7 (high) by evening and 6 (moderate) on Tuesday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Wildfire smoke causing poor air quality in Red Deer Sunday: Environment Canada

Wildfire smoke caused poor air quality and reduced visibility at times in Red Deer this past weekend, says Environment Canada.

A special air quality statement was in effect for central Alberta on Sunday – conditions are expected to improve for the region by Tuesday.

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

“Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.”

The health risk caused by wildfire smoke was moderate to high on Sunday, according to the provincial government’s Air Quality Health Index. On Monday, the risk was low.

If your home is not air-conditioned, Environment Canada says to be sure the house doesn’t get too warm when doors and windows are closed to keep out smoke. Exposure to too much heat can also result in illness.

“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gases which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”

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