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Air Quality Improves in Pierce County

Aug 11, 2017

TACOMA, Wash.—Air quality in Pierce County should improve during the next few days, according to the State Department of Ecology. But wildfires continue to burn in our state and British Columbia, meaning conditions can change quickly.

“Relief from the smoky haze is good news for everyone, especially people with heart and lung diseases,” said Judy Olsen, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Environmental Health Specialist. “Since wildfires continue to burn, everyone should stay informed about potential changes in air quality,” Olsen said.

You can monitor air quality at https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/ and sign up for alerts for when air quality changes at www.enviroflash.info.

People most at risk

Unhealthy air quality can affect everyone. People in sensitive groups are most at risk of potential health effects. They are:

People with heart and lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD.
Adults over 65.
Children and infants.
Pregnant women.
Diabetics.
Smokers.

For people with asthma, the National Institute of Health has guidelines regardless of the air quality. They include:

Have an asthma or COPD action plan that explains how to adjust medications and activities as needed.
Follow instructions on how to clean and maintain inhalers and respiratory equipment.
Ensure children have unexpired rescue inhalers available at school, daycare, and during activities.
Know your allergies or triggers and how to avoid them.

With proper care, people who have asthma can stay active, sleep through the night and avoid disruptions to their lives because of asthma attacks. For more information, visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-pro/resources/lung/naci/asthma-info/asthma-guidelines.htm.

Air quality burn ban lifted

Because of the improving air quality, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency lifted the air quality burn ban for Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties. This means you can use things such as charcoal barbecues, campfires, and bonfires. The Pierce County fire marshal’s fire safety burn ban remains in effect for residents of unincorporated parts of the county. This ban prohibits land clearing and yard debris outdoor burning.

Find other valuable information on air quality and learn what to do to protect your family at:

State Department of Health—www.doh.wa.gov/smokefromfires: Provides information on how to protect against wildfire smoke.
State Department of Ecology, Washington Air Quality Advisory—https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/enviwa/App_AQI/AQI.en-US.pdf: Describes different air pollution categories and what they mean to you.
National Weather Service—www.weather.gov/: Weather related alerts, including air quality.

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

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