Kids, pets especially at risk when air quality is bad

Wildfires

Air quality in the hazardous range in the entire region

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thick smoke is expected to hang around the greater Portland area for at least a few more days, according to forecasters.

With the poor air quality, heath officials say children and pets are especially at risk.

Chief Medical Officer at Brave Care Dr. Corey Fish said children are at a higher risk to harmful smoke exposure because their lungs are still developing. Dr. Fish added that Brave Care is already getting bombarded with calls from concerned parents wondering if their kids are experiencing respiratory issues.

“If the breathing seems noisier or raspier than usual that’s probably a good time to give a call for sure,” Dr. Fish said.

The best advice remains to simply stay indoors — and the same goes for pets. In fact, health experts urge pet owners to not take their dogs outside for even a short walk. Pets are more at risk because they do not necessarily understand what is happening and do not know how to manage their energy.

Doctor Karen Kline, Medical Director at VCA NW, said to keep an eye on changes in the way your pet is breathing.

“If you notice their respiratory rate going up, you’ll want to check their gum color, make sure they’re eating and drinking,” said Dr. Kline.

Health officials say not to vacuum during poor air conditions

Portland and the entire region continues to experience the worst air quality in the world because of the wildfires. Health officials urge everyone to stay inside as much as possible.

Among the tips to make your inside air better: Don’t vacuum.

That’s right, don’t vacuum. It stirs up particles that are already inside your home. Other tips to keep your inside air better include keeping your windows and doors closed, running an air conditioner or air purifier. If you don’t have an air purifier, you can make one if you have a high quality filter and a box fan.

Also avoid lighting candles, and don’t fry or broil when you’re cooking.

And just because you’re wearing a mask because of COVID-19, those cloth face coverings will not protect you against the smoke. A well-fitted N-95 face mask is the best defense to wear while you’re outside.

An Air Quality Alert remains in effect until noon Thursday, September 17, 2020.

Hazardous air quality continues for most of Oregon/Washington and neighboring states with only a few exceptions and that is the central to south Oregon coast.

KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.

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