PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Public health officials recommend limiting your time outside during the heat wave, especially since the wildfire smoke has deteriorated the air quality in the region.

Health officials said it’s important to have filtered air from either the filter on your furnace unit or from a portable unit with a fan and filter at your home. If you don’t have one, it might be a good idea to visit a space with cleaner air.

Which is exactly what the McDaniel family did.

Dave and Kate McDaniel knew just how to keep the kids cool and entertained.

Dave and Kate McDaniel took their kids to OMSI and Salmon Springs Fountain to beat the smoky skies and heat wave in the region, August 14, 2021 (KOIN)

“We took the family to OMSI. It’s nice, the air conditioning there. They’ve got the dino exhibit going on right now. That was pretty fun,” Dave told KOIN 6 News.

After OMSI, they headed over to the Salmon Springs Fountain. The McDaniels said the air quality wasn’t bad enough to stop them from getting outside.

“A little kind of smoggy,” Dave said, “but the masks work.”

“With the increasing wildfire smoke and the effects of climate change, it’s worth investing in a filter for your home,” said Brendon Haggerty, the interim supervisor of the Healthy Homes Community Team at the Multnomah County Health Department. “A lot of homes have that built into their central furnace, so you can make sure that you have a filter rated 13 or higher, if your furnace can handle it and that will help clean the air in your home. You can also order or purchase a portable air cleaner and those are great. You can even make one yourself from a box fan and a furnace filter.”

If you’re struggling to breathe, you may also want to contact your health provider.

“We advise people to close windows and use internal air circulation fans, preferably one with a filter if it’s available,” said Ian Stromquist, the Environmental Health Response Coordinator with the Hood River County Health Department. “If you are feeling health effects like coughing, wheezing, that sort of thing, you need to contact your primary care provider and get some advice.”

Haggerty said Multnomah County has had some hours where the air quality was good, in the moderate category. That overlapped with the coolest part of the day, he said, which would be the time to exercise if you need to.

The smoky skies didn’t stop tourists from coming to Portland, either.

Sam and Laci are tourists to Portland who visited from Seattle, August 14, 2021 (KOIN)

Sam and Laci were visiting Portland on Saturday from Seattle. They said they brought masks that can tackle the smoke but mostly stuck to their vehicle.

“We’ve been driving a lot with the AC blasting, drinking lots of water. We’re on a weekend trip here,” they said.

They said they have their N95 masks that can handle the smoke, but they’re mostly sticking to their car. And, they said, they’ve dealt with smoke before.

“We are from Seattle, Washington, so we came from the smoke,” they said. “It’s kind of like same, same.”

Haggerty said the websites Oregon Air from the DEQ and Air Now by the EPA are a good place to look for up-to-date air quality readings.

Heat investigation

The Multnomah County Medical Examiner has ruled heat out as the cause of death in the only case investigated so far during the most recent heat wave, the Portland Tribune reported

The name of the victim and cause of death was not available. But the medical examiner reported the investigation was underway on Friday, Aug. 13.