California has experienced its fair share of wildfires, and this year is no different. Smoke from a wildfire can travel for miles and impact air quality for days as fire crews work to get them under control. It can cause health issues for seniors and caregivers alike. This post offers tips on how to stay safe and healthy during wildfire season.
Know Your Air Quality
Air quality matters during wildfire season because it lets people know whether it’s safe to do any activities outdoors or if it’s safer to stay inside. The Air Quality Index, maintained by the government will provide the local air quality for your area in real-time.
Health Risks from Smoke
Smoke from a wildfire impacts everyone. But if you or an older loved one has health conditions that affect the heart or lungs, smoke can worsen them. This includes:
- Heart disease
The CDC recommends following the advice of your doctors and health care providers about what medications you need to take during this time, and ask them about a respiratory management plan if you have asthma or COPD. If you or your loved one has trouble breathing, consider evacuating the area and going somewhere where the smoke hasn’t reached.
Staying inside with all the doors and windows closed is the best way to stay safe from wildfire smoke. Run an air conditioner and make sure to keep the fresh-air intake valve closed to keep smoke from coming in. Don’t vacuum, use gas stoves, or light candles while inside. These can increase pollution in the air. Consider purchasing an air purifier to clean the air in your home and make sure all air filters in the house are rated MERV 13. If the house is too warm to stay in without an air conditioner, seek shelter at another location.
Wear a Mask
While the air is smokey from a wildfire, it is not advisable to do any outdoor activities, especially strenuous ones. If you have to go outside, wear an N95 or P100 respirator if you have to be out for a long period.
Staying safe at home is a challenge for older adults in the Orange County and Newport Beach, CA area in these times. If you’re searching for someone to help care for your loved one, reach out to Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Our team of care experts will be happy to assist you.