Residents in several major cities in the United States have been affected by the concerning air quality caused by the wildfires occurring in Canada.

Toxic smoke from the wildfires in the province of Quebec, Canada engulfed areas from the Midwest to the Northeast United States surrounding residents in a dense blanket of haze. Residents in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington DC suffered dangerous levels of air quality over the last week from harmful pollutants blowing in from the wildfires. Officials continue to advise residents to adopt safe practices and limit outdoor exposure to curb the harmful health effects of the poor air quality.

A CNN article reported that the air quality is improving, however, there are two main concerns to keep in mind:

  • Fire season in Canada is in the early months.
  • There is already poor air quality in the affected cities that were exposed.

In an NBC interview,  Associate Director of the MGH Center for the Environment and Health, Dr. Wynne Armand from the Massachusetts General Hospital advised that air pollutants from wildfire smoke makes breathing difficult but can affect vulnerable members of the community more severely, such as young children, older adults,  pregnant women and those already suffering from respiratory ailments.

Aida P. Capo, MD a pulmonologist in North Bergen, New Jersey reported an increase in patients with smoke and breathing-related issues. Specialists have noticed that people who are exposed for a prolonged period of time begin to experience the effect very quickly.

As millions of Americans remain at risk, conflicting information on how to best protect themselves and their loved ones arise. In an interview with Today, Dr. Rossini Rakapaksa offered some advice with this leading caveat:

Vulnerable members of the community are at a higher risk of being affected by the poor air quality, however, all residents in affected areas should practice caution. Here are some ways to protect you and your loved ones:

  • Limit exposure to the outdoors.
  • If you must be outside, wear a mask.
  • Limit outside air and instead, circulate the air from within your home or car.
  • When using the air conditioning in the car or the home, adjust the setting to allow only the re     circulation of air.
  • It is recommended to use air purifiers.

If possible, the most important advice is to greatly limit exposure to the outdoors. Such high levels of concentrated air pollution has short-term as well as long-term adverse effects. Some of the immediate short-term symptoms include: eye burning and irritation, watering eyes, wheezing, lethargy and more. More concerning are the long-term risks which are yet to be fully determined.

CaseyGerry’s wildfire lawyers are advising those exposed to poor air quality or are in areas prone to wildfires or smoke from wildfires to heed the advice from experts and remain vigilant in protecting themselves and their loved ones.

If you or a loved one has been affected by wildfires and are interested in exploring your legal rights, please contact our Wildfire attorneys at (619) 238-1811.

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